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Cybersecurity: More than a Buzzword

By Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday

Cybersecurity has my full attention… and it should have yours too.

From personal mobile phone apps to our classified systems, cyber is intertwined with everything we do, both in our professional and personal lives. 

No doubt, cyber has enriched our lives in unimaginable ways. 

But we are also in a cyberfight 24/7, 365-days-a-year, at home and on the job, where the enemy is often unseen. Cyberthreats are all around us and we must be prepared to defend against them.

Information has become the cornerstone of how the Navy functions in the 21st century. Nothing the Navy does, or will do, can exist without it.

October, which is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, should not just be a time to complete our annual cyber training. Rather, we must take time to recognize wherever you are, whatever system you’re operating, every time you log in, you are in a cyberbattle.

We, as a Navy, are also under attack every day. Our adversaries, who are technologically advanced, well-resourced and relentless, are focused on eroding our warfighting advantage by stealing our data, and compromising our networks and systems, including those that control our ships, aircraft, weapons and infrastructure. And they launch full-scale attacks with little or no warning.

Make no mistake. You play an important part in keeping the Navy secure. And we must ensure going forward that our Sailors, civilians, contractors, industry partners, and family members, have a comprehensive understanding of cyberthreats and actions that increase Navy’s cybersecurity readiness.

A successful cyberattack in one part of our network can jeopardize other systems and data because attackers move across the network to other targets once they are inside it – at network speed.

When attackers have this capability, one mistake by an individual can put others at risk. Because these stakes are so high, adhering to cybersecurity policies and best practices requires an “All Hands” approach to keep the Navy and our nation safe.

Throughout the month of October, our N2N6 Team will post resources here. There will be specific information on ways you can protect your home information systems from cyberattacks, and information specific to our cyber professionals.

While the Navy has made strides in our cybersecurity practices, including the creation of four new directorates that work for the Department of the Navy’s Chief Information Officer, there is still more work to be done.

For the Navy to compete, fight and win across the spectrum of our operations – I need you to understand the gravity of the cyberthreats we face. Be vigilant, and know our ability to prevail depends on what you do in cyberspace.

The Navy must dominate the information and cybersphere as we have dominated the maritime environment for the past half-century.

See you in the Fleet.

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