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Pentagon Suffers Major Cyber Attack

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by X-PASTER, Jul 15, 2011.


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    Pentagon Suffers Major Cyber Attack

    The Pentagon has admitted it suffered a major cyber attack earlier this year. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

    The Pentagon has admitted it suffered a major cyber attack earlier this year during which thousands of files were taken by hackers.

    A foreign intelligence service stole 24,000 files from a US defence contractor, deputy defence secretary William Lynn said yesterday.

    Mr Lynn revealed the theft as he unveiled a new Pentagon cybersecurity strategy that designates cyberspace as an "operational domain" like sea, air and land where US forces will practice, train and prepare to defend against attacks.

    Mr Lynn said the theft occurred in March and was believed to have been carried out by a foreign intelligence service and targeted files at a defence contractor developing weapons systems and defence equipment. He declined to specify the country behind the attack, what company was hit or what the files contained.

    "It was 24,000 files, which is a lot," Mr Lynn said. "But I don't think it's the largest we've seen." The theft was a dramatic illustration of the rising difficulties the Pentagon faces in protecting military and defence-related networks critical to US security.

    Defense Department employees operate more than 15,000 computer networks and seven million computers at hundreds of installations around the world. The department's networks are investigated millions of times a day, and penetrations have compromised huge amounts of data.

    Mr Lynn said a recent estimate pegged economic losses from theft of intellectual property and information from government and commercial computers at over $1 trillion.

    He said that as part of its active defences, the Pentagon would introduce new operating concepts and capabilities on its networks, such as sensors, software and signatures to detect and stop malicious code before it affects US operations.

    "Our strategy's overriding emphasis is on denying the benefit of an attack," he said in a speech at the National Defense University. "If an attack will not have its intended effect, those who wish us harm will have less reason to target us through cyberspace in the first place."