Every Mistake is a Lesson in Disguise

The “Buckshot Yankee fiasco” of 2008, in which software carried on a thumbdrive infiltrated the Defense Department’s networks, was a pivotal moment for the Air Force because it helped shape the service’s “proactive defense posture,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, the Air Force’s information dominance chief. This strategic and tactical shift had huge implications for combat in the cyber realm, Basla told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on July 20. “Heretofore, cyber defense in a legacy communication system was really after the fact,” he said. For instance, when a circuit disruption occurred, network operators reported the interruption and investigated it. “I would do some triage and find out what happened,” explained Basla. Now, sleuthing in the network is part of the operators’ day-to-day tasks. “Proactive defense means we are not waiting for something to happen,” he said. “We are out in the Air Force network and we are asking, ‘Is this normal traffic?'” (For more from Basla’s briefing, read Information is Operations.)