Phantom Fronts and Sidearms

Besides myriad mysterious ways that individuals or groups can corrupt, disrupt, and exploit cyberspace by keystrokes, Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, head of 8th Air Force, said that good old-fashioned mayhem can work just as well. He told attendees at AFA’s Air & Space Conference that servers can be physically damaged, such as when their cooling systems are turned off or unplugged. However, he said the best attacks are the ones the enemy doesn’t know about. For instance, he said that what you see is not always what you get when connecting to a military website because “DOD does a good job of protecting its data.” One way it does so is by using commercial sites that look and interact like a military site but are separated from it by firewalls. Cyber Command has a traveling presentation being offered to airmen throughout the service that offers basic tips to enlist their help in protecting the force from cyber attack. Elder calls it the “cyber sidearm,” and said it is a set of tips, do’s and don’ts and procedures to prevent accidental exposures or access to sensitive systems. “We want every airman to protect us in this domain,” he said.