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Cyber commander advises Rotarians

By Rebecca Siders

U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet

The commanding officer of Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command, Capt. Julia L. Slattery, kicked off National Cybersecurity Awareness Month as a guest speaker for the Suffolk Rotary Club on Oct. 5.

Organizations across the country are observing the month of October as National Cyber Security Awareness month. The Department of the Navy and NCDOC are using this campaign to help educate the community and Navy personnel on how to operate safely in a digital environment and understand their shared responsibility in protecting networks.
Grier Ferguson, a Suffolk Rotary Club member and a local attorney for the law firm of Ferguson Rawls & Raines, P.C., introduced Slattery as a cryptologic warfare officer and the seventh commanding officer of NCDOC embedded in the Suffolk community.

She began her speech by highlighting how cyber threats are real and not limited to the realm of military cyber operations.

“Cyber threats impact each of you in your daily lives and in your professions,” she said. “I believe it is vital to understand the stages of how cyber criminals can compromise a computer system, because a significant portion of what enables a cyber intrusion can be due to human error.”

Slattery discussed the different phases of a cyber attack and provided specific ways in which individuals and businesses can defend themselves from being easy targets of cyber threats.

“Firewalls and anti-virus software is critical, but they cannot defend against flawed human behavior,” she said.

“Be vigilant. Practice good password security. Think before you click. Question the unusual and unsolicited messages in your inbox. Read the fine print on any system you install to protect your professional and personal systems. Take the time to sit with your vendor and ask how they keep current on their best cybersecurity practices, and ask for the process you should take if and when you suspect a compromise has occurred.”

Slattery concluded with suggestions for the attendees on how think about personal online behavior.

“Treat your digital life as precious as you treat your physical life,” she said. “Be ever vigilant.”

She then answered questions about the recent Equifax breach, zero day exploits, and recruiting personnel.

Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command executes defensive cyberspace operations and enables global power projection through proactive network defense of Navy networks and systems and reports operationally to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.

U.S. Fleet Cyber Command serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. Fleet Cyber Command also reports directly to the Chief of Naval Operations as an Echelon II command.

U.S. 10th Fleet is the operational arm of Fleet Cyber Command and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders.