By Matt Millham, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Saturday, February 7, 2009
U.S. Air Forces in Europe has launched an information awareness campaign that will include at least one faux hoax.
Spurred by the widespread misuse of removable flash media devices, those in charge of securing USAFE’s computer networks plan to lure servicemembers and Air Force civilians into giving up personal information in a theaterwide con sometime between now and May.
"We hope that people know about it when it does happen," said Master Sgt. Dustin Ruland, USAFE cyber surety program manager.
USAFE’s computer gurus have redoubled their efforts to educate Air Force personnel in Europe about proper use of government systems through a series of computer pop-ups and a print and online media campaign.
They want personnel to know what to do before they launch the next phase of the campaign, which will include administrator-generated "glitches" and a "phishing" scam that could net them such information as Social Security numbers, bank data or computer passwords.
"Our goal is to not catch anybody," Ruland said. "If we do the phishing exercise and we get zero hits, we did our job properly."
So far, the pop-up campaign, which began Wednesday, has drawn little notice from airmen, who are used to clicking through a sea of computer pop-ups as they go through their daily routines.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Pearson, a member of the 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron at Kapaun Air Station, said he didn’t know about the stepped-up efforts, "but I don’t read all the little pop-ups that pop up," he said.
"There’s a new one every day," and he just doesn’t pay attention to them.
Still, he and others in his unit knew what to do in case of a glitch or scam e-mail.
"We go through a lot of training," said Staff Sgt. Charles Franklin.
Nevertheless, not everybody is following the rules, according to officials.
"The goal of this campaign is education and awareness," said Master Sgt. Chad Pope, USAFE communications security program manager.
"We’re not trying to be tricky. We just want to make sure people understand the rules and follow them."