Pentagon Extends Pilot Program to Help Protect Against Cyberattacks

By Erin Harrison September 26, 2011

The Pentagon is ramping up its efforts to address increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks against U.S. defense contractors by extending a pilot program to help protect its prime suppliers, according to media reports.

The program, which would serve as potential model for other US government agencies, is being evaluated by the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report by the Associated Press. The program could extend similar protections to power plants, the electric grid and other critical infrastructure.

“The Pentagon’s pilot program represents a key breakthrough in the Obama administration’s push to make critical networks more secure by sharing intelligence with the private sector and helping companies better protect their systems. In many cases, particularly for defense contractors, the corporate systems carry data tied to sensitive U.S. government programs and weapons,” the AP said.

Nearly 30 percent of the Pentagon’s Cyber Crime Center’s workload focuses on intrusions into defense networks – a figure that continues to climb, according to government officials. The trial program, which includes at least 20 defense companies, will be extended through mid-November, according to the AP.

William Lynn, the deputy secretary of defense who launched the program in May, told the AP, ““The results this far are very promising.”

This summer, US defense officials announced it will step up its efforts to improve cybersecurity measures, TechZone360 reported.

In a press conference on July 14, Lynn reporters a growing risk of terrorist groups and rogue states developing similar capabilities has pushed for the need to strengthen the nation’s cyber defenses. Lynn pointed out that cyber threats have the potential to quickly target the U.S., given that advanced capabilities are all run through IT, according to the Department of Defense.

Attacks in cyberspace are hard to trace to the source, which makes retaliation an ineffective strategy, Lynn said, noting that DOD’s approach is to “harden defenses and reduce incentives for attacks.”




Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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