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USAF Cyber Command (Hanscom AFB)  (Source: USAF)
The U.S. military continues its efforts to prevent cyber attacks

Cyber security is a major initiative for the U.S. military now that cyber attacks from China, North Korea, Eastern Europe, and other nations have been launched.

"It's not just spray paint, it's a new mindset," said Brig. Gen. David Cotton, Air Staff director of cyberspace transformation.  

The United States Air Force has transitioned near 3,000 communications officers to cyberspace officers responsible for protecting the U.S. military and the government's infrastructure.  Specifically, the 2E, 3A and 3C AFSCs job positions are now bunched into the 3DX category -- as other communications and electronics specialties could also be included.

Cyberspace officers will now be trained during a 115-day course at Keesler Air Force Base, with an interest in securing networks away from the data center, along with other rapid response operations.

Around 400 students will take the class this year, with the U.S. government inviting civilian contractors and military members from other nations also expected to attend.

The old program ran less than one month – this was when military officers were unsure how serious cyber attacks could be.  Furthermore, the federal government didn’t want to force the military to make adjustments until President Obama selected a cyber czar and figured out who would be responsible for cyber defense.

Cyber spies from China reportedly targeted the Indian military, U.S. embassies, and Tibetan exiles -- and there are fears of future attacks against the U.S. infrastructure.  There has been quite a bit of confusion related to cyber security and which department should be responsible for protecting the U.S. government's networks.



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I don't know what the big deal is
By Spacecomber on 5/18/2010 11:19:52 PM , Rating: 4
Don't we just need to replace all those PCs with Macs?




RE: I don't know what the big deal is
By jonmcc33 on 5/19/2010 12:03:10 AM , Rating: 3
Don't work properly on large domains.


RE: I don't know what the big deal is
By Cypherdude1 on 5/19/2010 8:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Cyberspace officers will now be trained during a 115-day course at Keesler Air Force Base, with an interest in securing networks away from the data center, along with other rapid response operations. Around 400 students will take the class this year, ...
It takes a little longer than a 115 day course to learn about hacking, etc... The best hackers have been doing it for years, many since they were 15.


By aegisofrime on 5/19/2010 8:45:46 AM , Rating: 3
Hackers may be doing it since they were 15, but they probably weren't hacking it all of their waking life since 15. Nor is it likely they were taught or trained, but likely picked it up as they went along.

This course probably won't produce a class full of geohotzs, but they should be competent enough.


RE: I don't know what the big deal is
By Iaiken on 5/19/2010 9:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
Having done several of the SANS courses related to the development of secure applications & architecture I can safely say you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are just simply full of yourself.

Anyone with a strong math background should already be
capable of learning the protocols, techniques and the manner of thinking needed to become an expert in cyber-security.

For anyone interested in SANS, I've provided a link below:

http://www.sans.org/security-training/courses.php?...

I would strongly recommend starting with the "Security Essentials Bootcamp" even if you think you know about information security. Then branch out to more specific classes. What you will learn is worth the high cost of admission.


By Cypherdude1 on 5/20/2010 5:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Having done several of the SANS courses related to the development of secure applications & architecture I can safely say you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are just simply full of yourself.
Are you seriously comparing someone who has taken a 115 day course, less than 4 months(!), to a Chinese hacker who has been penetrating American computer security for 10 years??!! You must be deluded or something.


By XtremeM3 on 5/19/2010 10:09:10 AM , Rating: 2
Quantity over quality


By someguy123 on 5/19/2010 1:21:11 AM , Rating: 4
They tried that, but once they turned on all the macs the room caught on fire.


By skyyspam on 5/19/2010 8:12:10 AM , Rating: 5
The USAF couldn't get any of their apps approved by the Apple store.


By alanore on 5/19/2010 8:21:07 AM , Rating: 3
Steve said the Airforce can't buy his systems, he cites the Airforces 'closed' and 'proprietary' nature as being the main reason.


By MrBlastman on 5/19/2010 8:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
The macs have been reclassified to top top secret clearance only at Area 51. Apparently, all anti-alien warfare technology is above the pay grade of most Air Force employees. Just ask Jeff Goldblum.


Always changing...
By jonmcc33 on 5/19/2010 12:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Specifically, the 2E, 3A and 3C AFSCs job positions are now bunched into the 3DX category -- as other communications and electronics specialties could also be included.


I was a 3C0X1 in the USAF for 8 years. Crazy to see things change over time.




RE: Always changing...
By afkrotch on 5/19/2010 1:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing's really changed, except for 3C0X1s. Instead of 1 AFSC, it's multiple AFSCs. The other AFSCs did just a direct conversion to a 3D identifier.

I can't remember exactly the number, but 3C0X1s are now like 4 different AFSCs or something. 3D1X1 is small computers/helpdesk, 3D0X2 is server admins, there's an IA/COMSEC one, and maybe another.


RE: Always changing...
By mattclary on 5/19/2010 8:18:00 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Nothing's really changed


Then you're still in, or haven't been out long. I went to Keesler for EW training in '87. To the best of my knowledge, they had no computer training there at all.


RE: Always changing...
By afkrotch on 5/19/2010 7:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, still in. The military world moves slow. I don't expect to see any kind of "cyber warrior" specific training until like 2015.

I'd say the major force holding back attacks, are the military contractors, while the military are just keeping our networks operational.


RE: Always changing...
By jonmcc33 on 6/1/2010 9:34:05 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, that's a shame. As a 3C0X1 I had opportunity to work a lot of jobs. Now it seems everything I did would encompass several AFSCs.


I want to comment on this specifically
By Bateluer on 5/19/2010 3:38:49 AM , Rating: 3
"It's not just spray paint, it's a new mindset," said Brig. Gen. David Cotton, Air Staff director of cyberspace transformation.

I was 2A07X for 6 years. And if my experience is worth anything, this nothing more than 'spray paint' despite what General Cotton says. Enlisted people in the E5-6 range tended to have a better grasp on security issues, as well as some E4s, but most people below that were simply too inexperienced, and E7s and above too often though themselves special and needed special privileges around security procedures. And most officers fell into that category as well. The only officers I've seen have good grasp any anything were prior enlisted themselves.

And the transformation of an officer to a 'security professional' is not something the Air Force can by assigning AFSCs nor can it be taught in a classroom. That takes real world experience and personal drive, as well as classroom training.




RE: I want to comment on this specifically
By emarston on 5/19/2010 9:19:47 AM , Rating: 2
I was a comm officer for 7 years and am willing to bet I would easily have qualified as a security professional (not prior enlisted). Be careful about making blanket statements. I may be out now but I still keep my CISSP and have spent several years as an IA professional prior to my current position.

The transformation begins in the classroom, and they will get experience in their future positions. I do agree that much of this will rely on personal drive. It's not an overnight process, but it is a process that can be successful.


By Bateluer on 5/19/2010 11:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
After 7 years, an officer isn't a complete idiot any more. Butter bars that think they are better able to lead/manage than a 20 year Chief piss me off.


RE: I want to comment on this specifically
By Ammohunt on 5/19/2010 2:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
The test of a good officer in the ARMY was if they could read a map...most learn that by the time they reach Major(by then of course they have staff to do it for them);just be glad their are carreer enlisted there to show the Officers how to Soldier. My opinion is that the military will never be able to manualize cyber-security like they do say aircraft maintenace Information Technology is just too dynamic people that pursue this job in the Air Farce will need to have a deidicated interest in it.


By Bateluer on 5/20/2010 6:09:09 AM , Rating: 2
Very good point. IT Security isn't something you can write down step by step instructions in a tech order for. Even you did, there'd have to be changes coming down almost weekly that would have to be added. Its simply too fast for a government behemoth to do effectively, officer or enlisted. Better to contract this one out.


...
By MasterBlaster7 on 5/19/2010 3:41:49 AM , Rating: 2
so...the air force is going to be looking at my porn now?




RE: ...
By JonnyDough on 5/19/2010 1:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
No. Sorry. Most of us aren't into guy on guy. We're more likely to be the guy starring in the two girls doubling up on a guy one.


They Gotta Start Someplace
By tech329 on 5/19/2010 5:44:54 AM , Rating: 2
There can be little argument that cyber security takes some serious training and a boatload of experience. While it is evident this won't fulfill the immediate need it'll pay dividends down the road. Of course, this depends upon retaining these individuals and not otherwise squandering the training and experience they'll gain. Being good at this takes a long term commitment and staying constantly engaged with the day-to-day of it.




RE: They Gotta Start Someplace
By afkrotch on 5/19/2010 7:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
Those with a lot of experience are getting out. The rest that actually stay in a long time, turn into managers and rarely ever touch the systems.

They are trying to shift me into a manager position. Me, going to shift myself right into a military contractor position in a year. I'm a comm guy, not a manager.


clarification
By inperfectdarkness on 5/19/2010 10:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
those are enlisted AFSC's. there's no such thing as a 3c officer. officer AFSC's start with 11 and go up from there.

for the record, i don't believe there are even 3,000 total communications officers in the USAF. in fact, the only officer career field over 3000 strong, is (iirc) pilots.

might want to revise your article.




Image correction
By unicron02 on 5/19/2010 4:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
That image was taken at what used to be the AFNOC at Barksdale AFB, not Hanscom.




IE6
By Visk on 5/19/2010 7:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
If you look closely at the one officer on the bottom right, you can see that he's running IE6 as his browser. I could have sworn the article said these guys were "security experts"




You have to be kidding me
By mrgreggie on 5/20/2010 2:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
These are the people heading up USAF cyber security? Unlocked SIPR seats? Network topologies showing? Contact names listed?

Heads should role for this lack of security!




Check the image
By unicron02 on 5/21/2010 3:10:22 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at the image closely, you will notice several things:

First, the individuals are all wearing BDUs. This dates the picture substantially as 90%> of the AF currently wears ABUs and has been doing so for some time.

Second, check the 2 PPTs being displayed on the large screen, in both the bottom left and bottom right portions. In the upper left-hand corner of each, you can see the 8th Air Force logo, which is not at Hanscom.

Third, check the SIPR box with the login/lock box covering the middle of the screen. You can make out the Air Combat Command logo behind it, and 8th Air Force was a member of ACC back when this was taken.

8th Air Force is located at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. This picture was taken about 4 years ago and has been used as stock "AFCYBER" photography for a while, along with that globe/hand logo thing you see at the top of this story.




bikini
By xinxiong on 5/18/10, Rating: -1
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher














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