Cyber awareness week informs, educates

An attendee at Laughlin’s first robot rodeo showcase their creations during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The purpose of the robot rodeo was to generate exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, and to create an avenue to show off the base’s and local community’s robotic creations.

An attendee at Laughlin’s first robot rodeo showcase their creations during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The purpose of the robot rodeo was to generate exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, and to create an avenue to show off the base’s and local community’s robotic creations.

Demonstrators at Laughlin first robot rodeo shows off their creation during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The robots featured at the rodeo varied from prebuilt creations to explosive ordinance disposal robots from Lackland AFB, Texas.

Demonstrators at Laughlin first robot rodeo shows off their creation during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The robots featured at the rodeo varied from prebuilt creations to explosive ordinance disposal robots from Lackland AFB, Texas.

Attendees at Laughlin’s first robot rodeo operate the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol underwater robot during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The robots featured at the rodeo varied from prebuilt creations to explosive ordinance disposal robots from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Attendees at Laughlin’s first robot rodeo operate the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol underwater robot during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The robots featured at the rodeo varied from prebuilt creations to explosive ordinance disposal robots from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Attendees at Laughlin’s first robot rodeo showcase their creations during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The purpose of the robot rodeo was to generate exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, and to create an avenue to show off the base’s and local community’s robotic creations.

Attendees at Laughlin’s first robot rodeo showcase their creations during cyber awareness week at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 28, 2017. The purpose of the robot rodeo was to generate exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, and to create an avenue to show off the base’s and local community’s robotic creations.

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

With the domination of online platforms like social media, mobile banking, and targeted advertisements, a person’s cyber footprint is much larger than one might think.

During the week of Oct. 23, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas’ Airmen and base personnel had an opportunity to further their education and awareness of their personal and business online presence.

Cyber awareness week, put on by the 47th Communications Squadron, featured events like functional system administrator workshops, open seminars, lessons for children on social media awareness, and a robotics rodeo to show off Laughlin and the surrounding community’s various creations and tools.

Grace Cannon, 47th CS information systems security manager, helped inform Laughlin’s Airmen of the challenges and measures necessary to secure themselves and their families while online.

“Everything we do now is digital,” Cannon said. “Every bit of our lives is intertwined with the internet, and we’re hoping to show everybody how to be aware and protect themselves, and maybe even help show some people the great career opportunities in cyber security.”

Maj. Emmanuel Matos, 47th CS commander, stresses the importance of cyber awareness and the event’s functional system admins seminars from all levels, from an Airmen in their office working at a computer, to understanding what their communications squadron does on base, to how Laughlin’s every day actions protect the base and the federal government from a cyber-attack.

“It was primarily building cyber awareness in the Laughlin community,” Matos said. “Recent issues highlighted on the news and the continued nation-state aggressions toward the U.S. cyber systems means we have to do a better job in the federal government in ensuring every individual understands they’re a vital link in the cyber security chain.”

The tools provided during the open workshop and children’s security seminars were geared toward securing Airmen and their family’s personal lives and home networks from hackers or identity thieves.

“It’s easy for thieves to get access to your data these days with our lives being online,” Matos said. “It could be as simple as a Throwback Thursday post online containing the street you were on or your mother’s birthday, and all of a sudden, hackers have access to the security answer for your email or your bank account.”

The week, filled with lessons and seminars, was completed with Laughlin’s first ever robotics rodeo.  The rodeo, according to Matos, was meant to garner exposure for careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and to provide an opportunity for Laughlin and local community members to show off their own projects of all sizes.

Some of the attendees at the robotics rodeo featured Laughlin’s Airmen and their robots, the Lackland AFB, Texas’ explosive ordinance disposal team, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and the local community high schools.

The weeklong event, according to Cannon and Matos, was put together by the communications squadron during almost all their free time, and plan on bringing back the events in next year’s cyber awareness week.

“It went absolutely fantastic,” Cannon said. “We had a lot more involvement than we expected. We want to make it an annual event, and bring more events next year.”

Cyber awareness week ran from Oct. 23 to Oct. 28, and was initiated with a proclamation from Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, declaring the week an official event on Laughlin.