Phishing – the act of someone trying to get information from people over the Internet – is a big problem. Spear phishing – the act of targeting a particular organization to try to get confidential information via the Internet is a newer, but equally big problem. Particularly in these days of not only privacy, but security concerns. Security issues for private companies are bad enough – but security issues for the branches of government charged with keeping its citizens safe, namely the armed forces, brings it into a whole new realm.
And thus it is that the United States Coast Guard has mandated that all of its personnel who have access to the Coast Guard’s network must be educated about phishing in general – and spear phishing in particular – immediately. The order, issued by Rear Adm. R.T. Hewitt, who is among other things the assistant commandant for communications, computers and information technology, was issued on December 21st.
The Coast Guard is following the lead of the Deparment of Defense (DOD), which issued a similar mandate for all DOD personnel, with phishing and spear phishing training to be completed by January 17th.
We wish them luck. We’ve been trying to educate the public about this for years, and as tricky as the phishers can be, it’s probably unrealistic to expect military personnel to be any less fallible – or, let’s face it, human – than any of the rest of us.
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