Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sharing the convention center

I don't really have much value added to go with this observation, but there are two conferences going on right now in the Baltimore Convention Center: Academy Health, and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. I didn't even know what the other conference was for a couple of days, even though their registration booth is right on the path from the hotels to our half of the building, because the name of the organization does not appear anywhere, only the initials. 

Anyhow, I looked up the calendar of events on-line and figured out what it is. 

Event Name: AFCEA International Cyber Symposium
Website Visit Event Website
Event Date: 06/25/2013 - 06/27/2013
Event Organizer: AFCEA
Description: National security is continuously being redefined as awareness of the cyberspace domain evolves. Cyber threats and challenges grow every day. Successfully defending our networks requires a team approach. With this in mind, the Cyber symposium will engage the key players, including the U.S. government, the international community, industry and academia, to discuss the development of robust cyberspace capabilities and partnerships.
Event Category: Symposium
Event Theme: Defining Full Spectrum Global Cyberspace Operations
Location: Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

A few tips:

Events like the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium present opportunities for America's adversaries to target U.S. Government employees, academia, defense industry, and other personnel in order to collect our Critical Information. Be a hard target!  Use good OPSEC practices to protect yourself and your organization's mission.

Here are some things to think about:
  • Be aware of your surroundings when discussing sensitive unclassified Critical Information during the conference and after hours, in common/public areas (e.g. social gatherings, networking mixers, etc.).
  • Don't make it easy for eavesdroppers to be part of your conversations.
  • Be suspicious of strangers - even though they sound like they belong at the conference, don't assume they are there for the same purpose as you.
  • Use caution when sharing information with someone you don't know. Ask others to confirm a person's identity before sharing Critical Information about your organization's past, ongoing or future operations/activities/events.
  • Protect your personal information, such as your room number and daily schedule.  Don't give out your business cards freely, particularly when outside the United States. Remember, phishing is still the #1 adversary threat vector into your personal and government computers/devices/networks, etc.
  • If you use a laptop or other portable electronic device (personal or government-owned) use it cautiously. Disable the Bluetooth and WLAN/Wi-Fi connections when not in use, and if you use this type of connectivity understand that you may expose personal and work-related Critical Information to an adversary. Be especially cautious when using unencrypted/unsecure WLAN/Wi-Fi hotspots.

Look, I suppose this is necessary. Maybe. If we lack imagination. But I don't particularly like living in a world where I have no secrets from the government, but they have lots of secrets from me. The armed forces work for the taxpayers. We're supposed to know what they're doing, and decide if we like it or not, and our elected representatives are supposed to be responsive to our wishes in their fully informed control over what the military does. Obviously, that's not how it is.This is very wrong.

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