Cyber Security is gaining more and more attention, especially from the U.S government.
The Pentagon on Thursday revealed that in the spring it suffered one of its largest losses ever of sensitive data in a cyber attack by a foreign government. It’s an extreme example of why the military is pursuing a new strategy emphasizing deeper defenses of its computer networks, collaboration with private industry and new steps to stop “malicious insiders.”
William Lynn, the deputy secretary of defense, said in a speech outlining the strategy that 24,000 files containing Pentagon data were stolen from a defense industry computer network in a single attack in March. He offered no details about what was taken but said the Pentagon believes the attacker was a foreign government. He didn’t say which nation.
Many cyber attacks in the past have been blamed on China or Russia. One of the Pentagon’s fears is that eventually a terrorist group, with less at stake than a foreign government, will acquire the ability to not only penetrate U.S. computer networks to steal data but to attack them in ways that damage U.S. defenses or even cause deaths.
Lynn said that sophisticated computer capabilities reside almost exclusively in nation-states, and that U.S. military power is a strong deterrent against overtly destructive cyber attacks. Terrorist groups and rogue states, he said, are a different problem and harder to deter.
The new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated that “a strong likelihood that the next Pearl Harbor” could well be a cyber attack that cripples the U.S. power grid and financial and government systems.
In a new pilot program, the Pentagon is sharing classified threat intelligence with numerous companies to help them identify and block malicious activity.
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