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.”
Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives
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