The Coast Guard’s role in cybersecurity

WASHINGTON — In an effort to combat more than 25,000 infections or malicious payloads carried in an average of 12 million monthly e-mail messages, the Coast Guard Computer Incident Response Team is always ready to provide for the cybersecurity protection of more than 40,000 Coast Guard systems and networks.
With this vigilance in mind, the Coast Guard actively participates in the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month—now in its sixth year. The theme for the 2009 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is “Our Shared Responsibility.”

“The government networks and our home computers are under constant threats from malicious hackers and foreign agencies attempting to gain access through targeted attacks,” said Capt. David Dermanelian, the Coast Guard’s chief information security officer. “Besides keeping your computer’s antivirus and system updated, computer users can practice good cyber “hygiene” by deleting emails from unknown senders, especially emails that have embedded links and files.”

While popular and fast becoming a standard practice of public communication, social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace present some security risks. Even though Coast Guard personnel cannot access social networking sites from their standard workstations, the Coast Guard actively encourages employees to remain security conscious when accessing sites from their personal computers.

As social networking sites mature and better safeguards come into existence, the DHS Office of the Chief Information Security Officer plans to develop policies and guidelines to allow the DHS community wider access for safe and responsible social media use from standard workstations.

For more information on National Cybersecurity Awareness Month visit www.dhs.gov/cyber.

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