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...

DHA PI 3201.05: Technology Transfer (T2) Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI) based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (t), establishes responsibilities, procedures, and guidance for the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) T2 program.

  • Identification #: 3201.05
  • Date: 6/20/2019
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Technology

Nutrition Management Information System (NMIS)

Fact Sheet
6/19/2019

NMIS is a fully integrated nutrition management system supporting military readiness and the war fighter worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System – Hearing Conservation (DOEHRS-HC)

Fact Sheet
6/17/2019

The Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System – Hearing Conservation (DOEHRS-HC) is an information system designed to support personal auditory readiness and help prevent hearing loss through early detection.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Hearing Loss | Solution Delivery Division

Coding and Compliance Editor (CCE)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

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

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Expense Assignment System (EAS IV)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

EAS IV is a Web-based tool essential to the Department of Defense because it assists the Defense Health Agency in identifying the total cost of providing health care to TRICARE patients.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Patient Encounter Processing and Reporting (PEPR)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

PEPR allows analysis of purchased care claims data created by the TRICARE Managed Care Support Contractors.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Military Health System (MHS) Population Health Portal (PHP)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

Military Health System (MHS) Population Health Portal (PHP) Fact Sheet

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

BATDOK improves, tailors to deployed medics

Article
6/7/2019
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bean, a pararescueman, demonstrates how BATDOK can be worn on the wrist, providing awareness of the health status of multiple patients. (U.S. Air Force photo)

BATDOK is under user evaluations by Air Force Pararescuemen and Army Rangers

Recommended Content:

Technology

Surgeons perform first bioengineered blood vessel transplant in military patient

Article
5/28/2019
Development of the Human Acellular Vessel, or HAV, starts by taking living cells from a human blood vessel and placing them onto a tube-shaped frame. These vascular cells are kept alive in an organ chamber, growing around the tube-shaped lattice. Over time, the lattice that was used to seed the original vascular cells dissolves, and scientists remove the original cells so the new vessel doesn’t cause an immune response when it’s implanted. What is left is a solid, tubular structure made of human vascular material that looks and acts like a blood vessel -- thus, the bio-engineered and newly-grown blood vessel, or HAV. (USU medical illustration by Sofia Echelmeyer)

Injury to major blood vessels of the body is the most common cause of death and disability in combat

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology

Mobile Applications for Client Use: Ethical and Legal Considerations

Publication
5/14/2019

Mobile applications (apps) to support behavioral health are increasing in number and are recommended frequently by medical providers in a variety of settings. As with the use of any adjunct tool in therapy, psychologists adopting new technologies in clinical practice must comply with relevant professional ethics codes and legal standards. However, emerging technologies can outpace regulations regarding their use, presenting novel ethical considerations. Therefore, it is incumbent upon providers to extrapolate current ethical standards and laws to new technologies before they recommend them as adjuncts to face-to-face treatment. This article identifies best practices for incorporating apps into treatment, including competence in the use of smartphones in general and familiarity with the specific apps recommended.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health

Cultural Considerations in Using Mobile Health in Clinical Care With Military and Veteran Populations

Publication
5/14/2019

Traditional cultural models typically address factors like ethnicity, language, and race as important concerns pertaining to treatment efficacy, but over the years, professionals have expanded the focus to include gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, and other aspects of identity and experience, including military cultural issues. As the integration of mobile health increases in clinical care, another important cultural factor that can impact care is technological culture. Differences in perception of technological competence by patient and provider can impact the provider’s ability to effectively connect with the patient and fully leverage tools to support evidence-based treatment.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health

Smartphone Apps for Psychological Health: A Brief State of the Science Review

Publication
5/14/2019

In this brief state of the science review, we provide a synopsis of the literature on psychological health mobile applications (apps) and discuss the impact of mobile technology on psychological health practice. We describe the variety of psychological health app uses from self-management, skills training, and supportive care to symptom tracking and data collection; and we summarize the current evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of psychological health apps. Finally, we offer some pragmatic suggestions for evaluating psychological health apps for quality and clinical utility.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health

Dummies for doctors

Article
5/14/2019
Air Force Col. Christine Kress (center) observes use of a medical canine mannequin designed to create training environments that prepare medical professionals for events they may face in the field. (MHS photo)

How technology is preparing the next generation of docs for the battlefield

Recommended Content:

Technology | Combat Support

Military to bring eye care to front lines with mobile app

Article
4/11/2019
Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Carra, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group optometry officer in charge, performs an eye exam for a Soldier at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Air Force and Army medical researchers are developing a smart phone application to connect providers downrange with on-call ophthalmologists either in-theater or at a clinic

Recommended Content:

Technology | Vision Loss

Military Health System Data Repository (MDR)

Fact Sheet
4/5/2019

The MDR is the centralized data repository that captures, archives, validates, integrates and distributes Defense Health Agency (DHA) corporate health care data worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Technology | MDR, M2, ICDs Functional Support
<< < 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.