NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- To add an extra layer of defense against unauthorized intrusion, DoD Web sites offer free anti-virus software intended for use on members' home computers.
The software is licensed for DoD employees, both military and civilian, courtesy of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) provides the software in association with Naval Network Warfare Command's Navy Computer Incident Response Team (NAVCIRT). Free software has been available to DoD employees since since 2001.
According to Air Force 2nd Lt. William Genda, anti-virus team chief for DoD's computer emergency response team at DISA, the use of anti-virus software at home can stop viruses before they can be transferred to DoD systems.
"These days, computers can catch viruses from Microsoft Outlook, Web access or even home computer access," said Genda. "With everyone exchanging files between home and work, the potential is there that someone could inadvertently bring an infected file to a government network. It's essential to protect home computers with the same anti-virus software used by government systems so there's no weak link in the chain."
Members must be at a .mil workstation to access any DoD-related sites offering free anti-virus software. They can either download via file transfer protocol (fast connection) or go to the INFOSEC FAQ page for slower downloads, then choose the software. Anti-virus software from McAfee is available, in addition to Symantec and TrendMicro, plus regular signature updates to keep PC workstations current.
Mac users can download McAfee Virex software and signatures for OS X, as well as earlier Mac operating systems. The sites even offer VirusScan for UNIX and DOS users.
The size of the file could be an issue since most are much larger than what the old floppy drive can store.
"Members should check which version of the software they're trying to download since there might be a zipped version available that is less than 10mb," Capt. Chris Christopher, deputy director for Future Operations, Communications, & Business Initiatives for NMCI offered. "Members should also consider a flash or thumb drive, which works with the machine's USB (universal serial bus) port. As a last resort, members should call their local help desk for a waiver of NETWARCOM's (Naval Network Warfare Command) 10mb restriction on e-mail attachments to be able to send their software home."
NAVCIRT, based at Little Creek Amphibious Base in Norfolk, Va., keeps watch for virus attacks over naval networks worldwide, as well as other types of intrusions or disruptions of service. They understand the impact of viruses on Navy networks and analyze how any intrusions happened, and how to keep them from coming back.
One of the assistant watch officers there, Cryptologic Technician (communications) 1st Class (SW) Matthew Conger, said that Sailors typically introduce viruses to naval networks by accident, which is one of the more common methods.
"What we see a lot of are viruses spreading from laptops brought in from home. Sailors bring them to work and hook them up," Conger said. "We'd see a big decrease in the spread of viruses if people simply download anti-virus software and install it on their home computers."
Installation of anti-virus software from these sites is not recommended for users, as the network administrator normally controls the software and updates automatically. DoD employees should check with their administrator for questions about anti-virus protection for a DoD workstation.
Downloading and installing anti-virus software at home benefits both Navy and its members. Navy networks have an additional checkpoint in the war against viruses and members get software, which they can retain for personal use, for free.
To obtain software, go to the SPAWAR Web site at https://www.infosec.navy.mil, and click on "Anti-Virus Information." The same software is also available at https://www.navcirt.navy.mil, or the DoD site at www.cert.mil/antivirus/av_info.htm. The other branches of service have similar sites with anti-virus software.
For more news from around the fleet, visit the Navy NewsStand at www.news.navy.mil.