Every computer user would once in a while encounter an antivirus pop-up warning them of a dangerous file. In many cases, the warning would suggest steps to take to remove such offending files.
William J. Hartman, commander of Cyber National Mission Force at US Cyber Command, says users should never ignore such warnings. This is because such warnings could have come from a small elite team of the US military deployed to that partner country. In this case, the warning would be due to the discovery of malicious cyber activity found by the team and shared with industry authorities to create a specific patch for the system.
By taking action on the antivirus warning, Hartman says nation-state actors are deprived of expensive tools which they seek to undermine shared interests.
CYBERCOM or Cyber Command is mainly focused on three objectives including defending the US Department of Defense networks, supporting the US and its partners in cyberspace, and defending the US which could translate to attacking perceived enemies. Defending the Department of Defense networks means defending everything the US military drives, flies, sails or communicates with. If it is connected to a network US Cyber Command is charged with proactively defending it from foreign adversaries who might try to seek to spy on the US or degrade its ability to defend itself.
“DoD networks are probed millions of times every day, so this is a critical aspect of the defense to the military and the nation and about our ability to respond to these threats,” Hartman said during the Foreign Press Center’s virtual reporting tour.
The Cyber Command also supports the Joint Force which comprises the US army, navy, marine corps, air force, coast guard, and space force. These security outfits combine efforts to support specific organisational missions like military operations in Europe, Africa, or the Indo-Pacific. CYBERCOM provides options to the Joint Force for both defensive and offensive cyber operations in support of their larger goals.
“CYBERCOM also defends the nation in cyberspace. That’s really where our organisation, the Cyber National Mission Force comes in. Defending the nation in cyberspace is our mission, not something we take lightly. It’s the reason we exist,” Hartman said.