Back to Top Skip to main content

Cyberfit family: Making cybersecurity understandable for all ages

By making cyber fitness a part of daily routines, families can protect their online information and personal well-being. By making cyber fitness a part of daily routines, families can protect their online information and personal well-being.

Recommended Content:

Technology

From protecting systems and data to regular training updates, cybersecurity is a top priority in the workplace – and it should be at home, too. By making cyber fitness a part of daily routines, families can protect their online information and personal well-being.

Servio Medina, Cyber Security Division Policy Branch lead at the Defense Health Agency, said cybersecurity used to be considered a technological problem, but now it’s viewed as a human knowledge problem and a personal responsibility. The need for cyber awareness goes beyond the workplace and into homes, impacting items ranging from electronic devices to toys, and increasing the importance for people of all ages to be ‘cyberfit,’ as Medina says.

“We do want to empower [people] to not unwittingly compromise their own information and their own well-being,” said Medina while speaking at Defense Health IT Symposium in July. Part of the Military Health System’s role in taking care of families is helping them understand how to protect their online presence, he said.

Cyberfitness, also known as cyber hygiene by the Department of Health and Human Services, is defined as an individual’s health or security when conducting all activities online. Medina called it a readiness issue.

Being cyberfit includes recognizing risky behavior, such as clicking a link in a suspicious email, said Medina. Federal employees are required to take yearly cyber awareness training and comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines for protecting health care information. But roughly 80 percent of cybersecurity breakdowns can be traced back to human error after training, according to a 2015 Department of Defense memo that included a plan to close the gap.

Medina said an increase in awareness and accountability is needed to reduce cyber risks. He draws a parallel with the practices and choices we make every day for overall fitness.

“You should probably get a medical expert’s assessment if you suspect having something worse than a cold, yet we really don’t have the same mindfulness when it comes to cyber practices and choices,” said Medina. The DoD released its 2018 Cyber Strategy, which emphasizes that leaders and their staffs need to be “cyber fluent” so they can understand the cybersecurity implications of their decisions.

“By understanding the consequences of their cybersecurity decisions on the job – and seeking a cybersecurity expert’s assessment – people can be better equipped to use this knowledge in their activities outside the office,” said Medina.

“We at the DHA care about family cyberfitness because innovations are enabling Military Health System beneficiaries to have greater and easier access to electronic health records, communication and prescription tools, and more,” he said. “Without cyberfitness, these health IT innovations might lead to information being misused by mistake or on purpose.”

Medina said military families in particular often face challenges with cyberfitness. Frequent moves and deployments upset routines and social connections. Some parents may become so distracted by the basic details of re-establishing households that they don’t pause to consider what their children – who seem to be positively occupied – may be doing online, he said.

Kelly Blasko, a psychologist and program lead for the mobile app and web program in the Connected Health branch in the Defense Health Agency at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, referred to video games and online chat rooms as examples of possible security threats facing children and teenagers.

“We tell children not to talk to strangers and that’s usually in a face-to-face situation, but it’s true on the internet as well,” said Blasko, a representative for Military Kids Connect. Cyber predators can target minors through the use of false links that allow access to the computer or accounts used by the child, she warned. “That really puts them at risk.”

Identify theft is often thought of as a problem for adults connected to financial identity, but children can also be targets, Blasko said. “They use the family computer and it might have banking account information or Social Security numbers that could allow someone to open a credit card in the name of a child, and then that ends up being a real problem.”

Medina said it’s important for parents to talk with children about cyberfitness frequently and candidly. He stressed that those conversations can empower children to make smart decisions and understand that cyberfitness is a daily priority. “Begin the conversations when they’re young, with age-appropriate messages on topics like creating strong passwords, safeguarding personal information, and turning to a trusted adult immediately if anything online makes the child uneasy.”

Blasko recommends having the conversation before any security concern comes up. Paying attention to how children and teenagers use the internet, educating them on cyber awareness, and having an open dialogue can allow young people to feel comfortable going to a parent or trusted adult for help, she said.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of seven and a half hours online every day at home, school, and public spaces.

“Practically everyone, young or old, can click into and connect with data, information, and other people,” said Medina. Many household items that rely on an internet connection and may seem mundane – such as security cameras, baby monitors, or wireless devices – can put people at risk for a cybersecurity breach, said Blasko.

Medina said the Defense Health Agency’s health information technology team offers information to ensure cyberfitness at home, including a five-day plan: Day 1 – add strong passwords to devices; Day 2 – clean out mobile apps; Day 3 – protect stored information; Day 4 – share information wisely; and Day 5 – beware of health information fraud.

The DHS campaign, Stop.Think.Connect, offers parent and educator resources for talking about cybersecurity with children.

“We have to protect our military children and families,” said Blasko. “They’re really who we serve and we don’t want them to be jeopardized in any way.”

You also may be interested in...

Airmen perform in-flight Transportation Isolation System training

Article
3/14/2019
A C-17 Globemaster III is prepped to transport a Transportation Isolation System during a training exercise that allows Airmen to practice the most effective and safest form of transportation for patients and their medical professionals. Engineered and implemented after the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the TIS is an enclosure the Defense Department can use to safely transport patients with highly contagious diseases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Miller)

This mission capability is the only one of its kind in the Department of Defense

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Technology

Composite Health Care System

Fact Sheet
3/14/2019

The Composite Health Care System (CHCS) allows clinicians to electronically perform patient appointment processes and scheduling, order laboratory tests, authorize radiology procedures and prescribe medications.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Centralized Credentials Quality Assurance System

Fact Sheet
3/14/2019

Centralized Credentials Quality Assurance System (CCQAS) is a web-based worldwide credentialing, privileging, risk management and adverse actions application that supports more than 105,000 professionals providing health and wellness services to active duty military personnel, their families and selected retirees.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Coding and Compliance Editor (CCE)

Fact Sheet
3/13/2019

CCE supports the Department of Defense efforts to improve coding accuracy and reimbursements for inpatient and outpatient services.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Mobile app aids ‘truly informed’ contraception conversations between patients, providers

Article
3/11/2019
A new app provides information about contraception with the goal of helping patients make informed decisions with their providers. The app includes a module to address the unique needs of servicewomen around deployment. (Photo by Sgt. Barry St. Clair)

Decide + Be Ready, an app that provides information on contraception for men and women, is designed to help patients make informed decisions with their providers. The app also includes a module to address the unique needs of service women around deployment and duties.

Recommended Content:

Men's Health | Women's Health | Technology

Gone in a flash: ‘Floaters’ in field of vision can warn of vision issue

Article
2/14/2019
Seeing flashes of light or floating debris-like shapes appear in your field of vision should be reason to visit a provider, experts say. These symptoms can indicate retinal issues, which may lead to retinal detachment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Perry Aston)

Jane Acton was familiar with vision issues and her quick action after experiencing the onset of retinal detachment was vital in recovering her vision

Recommended Content:

Technology | Vision Loss

Fairchild's 92nd Medical Group celebrates MHS GENESIS 2-year anniversary

Article
2/11/2019
A cake celebrating the second year anniversary of Military Health System GENESIS' arrival to Fairchild's 92nd Medical Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Feb. 8, 2019. MHS GENESIS is a Department of Defense-wide electronic health record and management system that combines health records from base, civilian and Veteran’s Affairs primary care providers, pharmacies, laboratories and dental clinics into one network. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lawrence Sena)

MHS GENESIS is a DoD-wide electronic health record combing records from base, civilian and Veteran’s Affairs primary care providers, pharmacies, laboratories and dental clinics into one network

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS | Technology

Call for abstracts open for 2019 Military Health System Research Symposium

Article
2/11/2019
More than 3,000 people attended the 2018 MHSRS meeting. Attendees participated in a wide range of sessions targeting combat casualty care, military operational medicine including psychological health and resilience, clinical and rehabilitative medicine, medical simulation and health information sciences, and military infectious diseases. (DoD photo)

MHSRS is the DoD’s premier scientific meeting and addresses the unique medical needs of the Warfighter

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology | Medical Research and Development | MHSRS 2018

Virtual training platform maintains, improves military surgeon’s skills

Article
2/8/2019
Airmen assigned to the 99th Medical Group perform in an orthopedic spine surgery at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver)

The DoD’s surgeons are talented and qualified, but it takes experience and time to become proficient

Recommended Content:

Technology

Gaining new perspective through vision-correcting surgery

Article
1/29/2019
The Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program, available to active duty service members, provides an opportunity to correct vision with ease thanks to advancing technology. (Department of Defense photo by Reese Brown)

Once deemed a disqualifying factor for service, refractive surgery is now available to active duty service members through a Department of Defense approved program

Recommended Content:

Technology | Innovation | Vision Loss

Military Health System, industry allies work together to improve health care technology

Article
1/29/2019
Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, assistant director for combat support at Defense Health Agency, dual-hatted as the Defense Health Agency assistant director for Combat Support and MHS EHR functional champion, and Air Force Col. Thomas Cantilina, chief health informatics officer and EHR deputy functional champion at the DHA, visit the Tiger Institute Jan. 17. (Courtesy photo by University of Missouri Health Care)

Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne visits University of Missouri’s Tiger Institute for Health Innovation

Recommended Content:

Innovation | Secure Messaging | MHS GENESIS | Military Health System Electronic Health Record | Technology | Patient Safety Reporting | Combat Support

Wrap your mind around this

Article
1/16/2019
Army Spc. Anne Veiman, 452d Combat Support Hospital, demonstrates the capabilities of the InfraScanner handheld TBI detector on Kuwaiti army Col. Raed Altajalli, assistant director of Kuwait North Military Medical Complex in Al Jahra, Kuwait City, Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Connie Jones)

This tool would be particularly helpful in a combat environment

Recommended Content:

Technology | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability

DHA IPM 19-001: Lifecycle Management Services (LCMS) Information Technology (IT) Asset Management (AM)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (p), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for implementing and managing IT assets and LCMS/Enterprise Activity functions by the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Deputy Assistant Director, Information Operations (DAD IO)/J-6 for the Military Health System (MHS). This DHA-IPM: • Is binding on DoD Components and supports the Director, DHA, responsibility to develop appropriate management models to maximize efficiencies in the activities carried out by the DHA. • Is effective immediately and will expire 12 months from date of signature. It must be incorporated into a DHA-Procedural Instruction; reviewed annually and updated as determined by the CIO.

  • Identification #: 19-001
  • Date: 1/15/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

Solution Delivery Division

Fact Sheet
12/11/2018

To deliver information technology solutions to the Military Health System through expert acquisition program management, process reengineering, information translation and sharing, training, and integration activities in order to support and advance the delivery of health care to our patients.

Recommended Content:

Technology

Cyber fitness, awareness key during ‘season of shopping’

Article
11/22/2018
Making cyber security a priority while shopping or browsing online can help you protect yourself from more than you bargained for during this ‘season of shopping.’

During a popular time of year for shopping, consumers should be aware of scams or fraudulent activity targeting shoppers and email users, experts say. Taking small steps every day to protect information online can make a big difference in the long-term future.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Secure Messaging
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 8

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing... Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.