Bad cyber hygiene amounts to about 80 percent of the cyber threat to the Air Force, Lt. Gen. Bill Bender, the service’s chief information officer, told reporters Thursday. To mitigate the self-induced threat, Bender said, his office is rolling out a service-wide cyber hygiene and acculturation plan to clean up airmen’s workplace behavior so they don’t open vulnerabilities in the service’s systems. “It’s critically important that we get this right,” Bender said. Asked for examples of what not to do, Bender said to not click a link sent by a supposed aunt who is asking for money from Nigeria. “That’s an oversimplification, but that kind of stuff is out there and increasingly very sophisticated…,” Bender said. “That’s what’s difficult about this responsibility that we have, because it changes on a daily basis …” Beyond making sure service members know the threat is real and act accordingly, Bender said, the service is implementing security measures in sensitive areas, such as restricting the use of computers that are plugged into aircraft to track maintenance data. Bender likened the goal of the plan to establishing cultural norms of behavior like those observed on the flight line—zero mishaps, no foreign object damage, nobody inside of the red space—which are understood across the force. “So it’s a big job and it’s one that has to go on continually,” Bender said.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds on, the U.S. Air Force deployed four F-16 fighters to neighboring Poland on Oct. 3, keeping up the service’s continuous presence on NATO’s eastern flank.