[ISN] Air Force officials to implement hand-held device changes

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 00:10:10 -0600 (CST)

By Capt. Christine D. Millette
24th Air Force Public Affairs

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force officials will be 
implementing changes in March to services available for use on all Air 
Force-issued BlackBerry hand-held devices to bolster the security of the 
devices. These Department of Defense-directed changes will be overseen 
by security specialists in 24th Air Force, the operational warfighting 
organization responsible for defending Air Force network operations.

"Just as physical security measures at forward and stateside bases are 
constantly being improved to meet current threats, so also are cyber 
protection measures taken to protect DOD information," said Maj. Gen. 
Richard Webber, 24th Air Force commander.

The Air Force mission depends on the availability, integrity and 
confidentiality of information systems interconnected through 
cyberspace, officials state. Adversaries are constantly seeking to find 
and exploit potential vulnerabilities of these vital information 
systems. All Air Force personnel are responsible for safeguarding these 
systems, and improvements to network security procedures help them to do 

The following configuration changes will be implemented within the month 
of March:

a) Users no longer will have the capability to send or receive text 
messages with attached photos or videos. Text-only messaging will remain 

b) If a device is being synched and its software is out-of-date, a 
"Force Load" message will appear. The user will have only one 
opportunity to decline updating the software. Any subsequent syncing 
attempts will render the device inoperative until the software is 

c) Users will not be able to download additional applications to their 
devices over the Internet.

d) Most Bluetooth functionality will be disabled. The only Bluetooth 
feature that will continue to function will be linking the device to the 
smart-card reader cradle.

e) Users no longer will be able to connect their smart-card reader 
cradle to their computers.

Air Force people who have questions about these changes can contact 
their local client support administrators. People who notice abnormal 
operations of any communications devices or equipment are encouraged to 
contact their local information assurance officer or CSA.

"Mission assurance is the goal for which all changes are enacted to our 
network and the services provided with it: to protect the Air Force, its 
people, and its capabilities," General Webber said.

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Received on Sun Mar 28 2010 - 23:10:10 PDT

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