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Free anti-virus software available on Air Force Portal

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 33rd Network Warfare Squadron, home of the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team (AFCERT), in conjunction with the Air Force Network Integration Center (AFNIC) has made downloading anti-virus software for home use easier for all active duty and civilian Air Force Portal users.

The software is provided at no cost as part of the Department of Defense Home-Use program. It has always been available for download on the AF Portal to users on .mil domains, but now users can directly download the software from home.

Client software is available from Symantec© and McAfee© for all supported versions of Microsoft© Windows™ and Apple© MacOS™ operating systems. The software is located on Air Force Portal and members can navigate from the "Air Force" tab to the "Enterprise IT Initiatives" page and click on the "Anti-Virus Software" link directly underneath the "Home Use Software" heading. All available versions and their respective supporting documentation are provided for direct download from that page.

While user education is the backbone of the computer security program, antivirus software is the first, best and easiest tool to ensure the COMSEC program remains a success. Military members and civilian employees are strongly encouraged to employ these free tools.

"The programs provided under the DoD license are just as good, if not better, than anything a member would be able to purchase out of their own pocket," said Master Sgt. Edward Merica, 33rd NWS mission assurance chief. "Why pay up to $100 or more when we're providing outstanding software for free?"

Sergeant Merica speaks from experience having witnessed the tools successfully protect deployed member's personal laptops on the unsecured, highly popular morale networks provided at many deployed locations.

"Plus, the antivirus software that comes free with new PCs and laptops has an expiration date, but these tools don't," he explained. "They'll continue to update and protect as long as they're installed."

Once the programs are installed and configured, they are always at work. The programs also self-update - giving users the most current signature set when inspecting files for malware.

Lt. Col. Kenneth Peifer, 33rd NWS commander, urged Air Force and DoD members to take advantage of this opportunity.

"The best way to help keep malicious logic off our networks is to ensure our members are also defended on the home front," he said. "When everyone is using these tools at home, they're helping to protect the entire DoD global information grid."

The commander said stopping virus and other malicious logic attacks at home prevents infected files from being distributed through a member's personal or official e-mail.

"Home computers have become an extension of the workplace PC, and we commonly work on things at home that are sent back and forth through e-mail," said Colonel Peifer. "Preventing malware infections at home keeps an adversary from collecting critical information on DoD members through their home systems. By using proven security tools that are kept up-to-date, every Airman contributes to Air Force mission assurance."

The software is available at the Home Use Software page on the Air Force Portal.