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  • 6
  • Jun
  • 2017
Winning the cyberattack battle

By Lance Cpl. Juan Madrigal, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Cyberattacks are a threat, not only to personal security but national security as well. There have also been reports of a ransomware known as WannaCry affecting multiple global entities.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that is inflicted on a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it. The malware spreads by luring unsuspecting users to click on infected email attachments and links to launch their attack. Guidance has been sent out to help Marines be prepared.

“To prepare for these battles in cyberspace, it is vital that all Marines take measures to protect their personally owned devices and adhere to the cybersecurity policies and procedures outlined in our annual training programs,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, Marine Corps Installations East - Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune commanding general. “We must maintain a state of readiness both at home and in the workplace with regards to cybersecurity.”

To help maintain readiness the Defense Information Systems agency encourages the use of its free anti-virus and anti-spyware. The software is available for active duty military and civilian employees for use in their own home.

“All users must understand that the threat to DOD networks and to personal devices is absolutely real,” said Col. Michael Schutte, II Marine Expeditionary Force assistant chief of staff G-6. “As the Marine Corps evolves toward 2025, the Cyber Domain will become even more critical in the future.”

According to Marine Forces Cyber Command, service members should not rely on a browser and antivirus software to protect against malicious websites. Service members should be mindful of phishing attempts, be wary of emails from an unknown source, while at work look for trusted/valid certificates on emails and watch what is being clicked. If you receive a suspicious email at your work address forward it to suspicious@usmc.mil.

Marine Forces Cyber Command also urges all service members to not click on links or download files in emails unless you know without a doubt that they are intended for you; ensure your personal devices are updated and patched and back up your data so you can recover you systems if they become infected.

“As the Commandant stated in his “Message to the Force 2017: Seize the Initiative” released in February, Marines ‘will have to fight not only in the domains of land, sea, and air, but also in space and cyberspace,’” said Weidley.

For more information on ransomware visit www.us-cert.gov/security-publications/Ransomware.

To gain access to free anti-virus protection go to www.disa.mil/Cybersecurity/Network-Defense/Antivirus/Home-Use Note: The software must be downloaded from a .mil domain/government workstation.