NEWS | Oct. 14, 2021

Cybersecurity Awareness Month - Secure Teleworking

By Airman 1st Class Edward Medina 436th Communications Squadron

While teleworking is not a new concept, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the complexities of working efficiently, productively and most importantly, securely from home.

Operating under the emerging constraints of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, the Air Force quickly adapted by implementing secure ways for more than 300,000 personnel to communicate and continue secure operations worldwide.

Extensive use of teleworking, however, has led to new risks to Department of Defense information and systems. For example, the use of official webmail on personal machines presents the risk of inadvertently transferring information to systems that are not authorized to process government information. It is imperative to follow teleworking guidance and policy that is available on the Air Force Portal.

Another unique consideration when working with government information and resources from home is to ensure that your home office is secure, as this is essential in safeguarding information. It is also important to maintain the same cybersecurity awareness as you would in the office environment, such as remembering to log off whenever you step away from your workstation and protecting your Common Access Card.

According to the official Cyber Security Awareness Month website, some other helpful tips for maintaining a secure teleworking posture include the following:
1. Avoid using public Wi-Fi, and make sure your home Wi-Fi has a strong password.
2. Be sure networking devices have software patches applied when made available.
3. Only store work-related files and content on your government computer/device.
4. Update your government computer/device firewall, antivirus software and other applications when updates are available.
5. Never connect your government computer to your home printer or other devices with data storage capabilities
6. If using government webmail on a personal device, update the device’s operating system and applications when needed (https://usaf.dps.mil/sites/13057/Office-of-the-CISO/CSAM/SitePages/Home.aspx)

Free anti-virus for Department of Defense employees is available for download at https://storefront.disa.mil/kinetic/disa/servicecatalog#/forms/antivirus-home-use