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8th CS cyber defense protects installation information

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

More than just processing work orders and fixing the installation’s Wi-Fi, the 8th Communications Squadron has a few tricks up their sleeve to protect personnel and hardware from information-stealing attacks.

Tucked away in a dimly lit, climatized room, works a cyber defense 365-team, who uses cyber tools to identify potential vulnerabilities on the network and then remediates them by going into machines and getting rid of those vulnerabilities.

“If adversaries got ahold of valuable information, it could severely impact the Wing’s mission,” said 2d Lt. Christopher Jeon, 8th CS cyber defense officer in charge.

Jeon explained that if an adversary accessed the base’s network through a user, malware could spread throughout the squadrons, and then to the whole base. Depending on the severity of the virus, it can cause all the computers to malfunction and not work at all which emphasizes the need for individual personnel to practice cyber awareness and avoid clicking on suspicious emails.

To correct those vulnerabilities, the cyber defense team troubleshoots, identifies and physically or electronically eliminates those issues.

“The really cool thing about being communications is every base that you go to, that network is going to be a little bit different,” said Staff Sgt. Spencer Pearce, 8th CS cyber defense vulnerability NCO in charge. “It's going to have different parts and different quirks, and different aspects that work well.”

Pearce said when it comes to protecting information, time zones are their biggest block because they must work with many higher headquarters agencies to help grant access or update software to install, which can be complicated with Kunsan’s high changeover rate.

“It's always a battle of quickly adapting as soon as we get on station,” Pearce said. “We hit the ground running while adjusting to this completely new network.”

Regardless of the workload and tasks, Pearce said he finds the challenge enjoyable.

“There's a lot of problem solving and troubleshooting involved as a team, so those two aspects are why I enjoy this job,” Pearce said.

You can always count on the cyber defense team to take care of Kunsan’s cyber domain.

“The Air Force complicates its cyber defense system by breaking everything apart, putting the pieces in different places with various people, mitigating network threats,” Pearce said.