EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- Service members and authorized civilians can now get free antivirus software for home use through a program sponsored by the Navy's Information Assurance Web site.
The program hopes to reduce the number of computer virus attacks on government systems by providing antivirus protection for military personnel who use the Internet at home. The software normally retails for up to $50 at stores throughout the country.
Sailors at Naval Station Everett, in Washington state, have positive things to say about the program.
"It's one of those little-known Navy benefits," said Seaman Chad Owsley, of Naval Station Everett's First Lieutenant Division. "Not many people know about it, but it will save you a lot of money and keep your computer safer, and you don't even have to pay for it. It's so easy that even someone like me who isn't a computer geek can install it without any trouble."
The program was developed by the Navy's Information Assurance Center, a division of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems command.
The Department of Defense negotiated software licenses with three major software companies: Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. These licenses include home use for all DoD employees, including military service members and authorized civilians.
Military personnel taking work home, and then returning to the office with infected files, had previously been identified as a primary means of entry for viruses attacking government computer systems.
The antivirus software can only be downloaded from a computer with a ".mil" or ".gov" domain address. (A small group of users with an authorized DoD "PKI" digital certificate may download the software from any computer.) Sailors then save the software to any form of portable media, such as CD, thumb drive or zip disk to bring to their home computers for installation. Most Navy and Marine Corps Intranet computers include a CD burner, and all have USB ports for attaching some form of portable drive.
The Infosec Web site at https://infosec.navy.mil has complete instructions that guide users to select the most appropriate software package. Antivirus software from all three vendors is available for nearly all versions of both Windows and Apple operating systems, as well as many other rare operating systems and handheld devices.
"It's free and easy to install," explained Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Antonio Huerta, of Naval Station Everett's information resources management office. "The user doesn't have to worry about paying for yearly updates, either. All costs are covered by the military."
Users can select between any of the three major vendors. Symantec, maker of Norton Antivirus software, McAfee and Trend Micro are all available for download.
Service members and civilians who choose not to take advantage of the Navy's Information Assurance program can end up paying a lot of money for the same software at a store. In many cases, the Navy's software is a stronger "corporate" edition, which provides even better protection than the consumer versions sold at stores.
"The Infosec Web site is a great deal," said Huerta. "The user gets free software that protects their home computer, and the government reduces a major virus threat. It's a good situation that works both ways."
The Navy's Infosec Web site is https://infosec.navy.mil.
Free software can only be downloaded from a computer with a ".mil" or ".gov" domain address, or alternately through the use of a "PKI" authorized digital certificate.
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