Weapon Systems Specs Stolen in Contractor Breach

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Headlines

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Reuters reports that a classified US military weapons system will now need to be redesigned after specs and plans for the system were stolen from a defense contractor database in a breach earlier this year.

Defense officials have announced plans to shore up information networks to prevent the future losses of sensitive and classified materials.

"It is a significant concern that over the past decade, terabytes of data have been extracted by foreign intruders from corporate networks of defense companies. In a single intrusion this March, 24,000 files were taken" US Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said.

Lynn was referencing one of the largest Department of Defense data loss events to date, which officials officials believe was orchestrated by a foreign government.

The theft of around 24,000 sensitive Pentagon documents occurred in March of this year, and included avionics specs, satellite systems data, surveillance technology and information on network security protocols.

"The loss is an example of why the Pentagon has developed new cyber security rules that emphasize deeper defenses, more collaboration with private industry and new steps to stop thefts by malicious insiders," the Associated Press reported.

Lynn announced that the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security will implement a pilot program with several defense contractors to share network threat information.

"In this Defense Industrial Base – or DIB – Cyber Pilot. Classified threat intelligence is shared with defense contractors or their commercial Internet service providers, along with the know-how to employ it in network defense," Lynn said.

The Department of Defense has also released a document that provides an outline for military-based cyber operations titled Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace (pdf) that contains five specific strategic initiatives.

  • Strategic Initiative 1: Treat cyberspace as an operational domain to organize, train, and equip so that DoD can take full advantage of cyberspace’s potential.
  • Strategic Initiative 2: Employ new defense operating concepts to protect DoD networks and systems.
  • Strategic Initiative 3: Partner with other U.S. government departments and agencies and the private sector to enable a whole-of-government cybersecurity strategy.
  • Strategic Initiative 4: Build robust relationships with U.S. allies and international partners to strengthen collective cybersecurity.
  • Strategic Initiative 5: Leverage the nation’s ingenuity through an exceptional cyber workforce and rapid technological innovation.
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