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Smart card logon soon required

HURLBURT FIELD -- By July 31, the primary method for logging onto standard unclassified Air Force networks will be the smart card logon.

A smart card is the standard Department of Defense identification card, also known as a common access card. Air Force Special Operations Command requires 100 percent compliance by April 28.

“We are accelerating our schedule to work out waiver and other issues that might come up,” said Capt. Nora DeLos Rios, AFSOC Communications. “Contractors and administrators are some of the people who will require waivers to continue to use passwords.”

These waivers must be approved by the Department of Defense.

Currently, 70 percent of Hurlburt personnel are able to use CAC logon, said Captain DeLos Rios. Units on base will have to comply with the new policy.

Military networks are essential to the success of the war-fighting missions and the protection of basic privacy information. These networks are under attack daily by hackers, saboteurs and terrorists who can compromise the integrity of networks and put critical information systems at risk.

One of the key weaknesses of Air Force networks is the use of passwords that Airmen grown accustomed to, according to the Air Force Key Infrastructure, System Program Office. Conventional passwords are vulnerable because they are stored on and transmitted over the network and can be easily hacked.
Adversaries can pose as legitimate users by using these passwords.

The advantage of using the CAC plus a personal identification number is the two-factor authentication—users will need their CAC and PIN to log onto the system. PINs are not stored or transmitted on the network and are not required to be changed unless it has been compromised, according to Air Force PKI SPO.

Users need to begin preparing for the migration to avoid complications.

“People need to start getting their PINs,” Captain DeLos Rios said.

“We reset up to 40 CACs in one day,” said Vincent Filpi, Chief of the military personnel flight customer support. “Users should make their PIN a date they can remember, like a great aunt’s birthday.”

Computer logon is just one of the functions that will require CAC access in the coming months.

The Air Force Portal and virtual Air Force Personnel Center are projected to be CAC logon compliant by July 31 also.