News | Sept. 4, 2020

Plan ahead to be cyber-ready, tech-ready during disasters

By By Debbie Roulier, DLA Information Operations

The Atlantic and Pacific regions are in the middle of hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30. Rain, wind and water from hurricanes can reach hundreds of miles inland after a storm reaches the coast.

With the aftermath of physical storm damage come attempts by nefarious individuals and groups asking for money. Phishing is the No. 1 cyber tactic used by adversaries, from nation-states to terrorists and criminals, because it is cheap, easy and effective. Adversaries use malicious emails or websites that look similar to the real thing to trick others into providing personal information.

Readers who respond may think they’re donating to legitimate websites that provide aid to hurricane victims. In reality, they may be compromising their personal information or giving their money to terrorists.

Paul Resh, chief of the Defense Logistics Agency’s Computer Emergency Response Team, is asking DLA employees and contractors to help keep the agency’s networks, systems and data safe from such adversaries.

Before providing money or personal information to an organization, remember the following:

  • Don’t provide personal or financial information to anyone without confirming their identity.
  • Check the name of the website before clicking on links. Many times, an illegitimate web address will look very similar or identical to the URL of the real website. Write down the web address provided in an email and do a search on that URL before clicking the link.
  • Don’t assume websites and links in social media posts or emails are accurate and legitimate. Check them before clicking on them.
  • Research a charity or organization before donating. The Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator are two sources of information to help verify relief organizations.

Employees should also have communication plans tailored to individual and family needs. That includes ensuring mobile devices are updated, protected from cyber threats and fully charged.   

Consider the following:

  • Use text messages, social media and email to connect with friends and family during emergencies.
  • Register with American Red Cross’ Safe & Well site to let family and friends know you’re okay. Concerned family and friends can search the site to find your name, an “as of” date and a message from you. 
  • Have an emergency charging option for your phone and other mobile devices. Smartphones have become a vital tool to get emergency alerts and warnings, so it’s important to make sure you can keep them powered in an emergency.
  • Store important documents on a secure, password-protected jump drive or in the cloud.

DLA employees should ensure their Fourth Estate Personnel and Accountability System account is accurate and up to date. FEPAAS allows employees to account for themselves and their family members during natural disasters and other emergencies.