There have been 17,000 scans of the Air Force network this year. Of those, 132 were suspicious events, including 10 new malware signatures, Lt. Gen. Bill Lord, USAF’s chief of warfighting integration, said last week in his address at AFA’s inaugural CyberFutures Conference in National Harbor, Md. “They are after our intellectual property, defense, financial, intelligence information and more,” he said. He added, “Most importantly, though, they are accessing our networks for later exploitation.” Protecting the network, however, isn’t the only solution. Those attacking and hacking into the Defense Department’s network are becoming more and more sophisticated. If they can’t successfully penetrate the network, they will simply move on to the 19,000 applications on the USAF network—each of which has a varying degree of security. To combat the problem, the Air Force is rethinking the way it trains and certifies those who operate on and run the networks. It’s also going through “rigorous testing to fix these holes” in its applications, said Lord. “You can’t just tear off the shrink wrap and click, click, click until you realize it doesn’t work,” he said.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.