Lockheed says cyber attacks up sharply, suppliers targeted

Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:01pm EST
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By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon's No. 1 supplier, Lockheed Martin Corp, on Monday cited dramatic growth in the number and sophistication of international cyber attacks on its networks and said it was contacting suppliers to help them shore up their security.

Chandra McMahon, Lockheed vice president and chief information security officer, said about 20 percent of the threats directed at Lockheed networks were considered "advanced persistent threats," prolonged and targeted attacks by a nation state or other group trying to steal data or harm operations.

"The number of campaigns has increased dramatically over the last several years," McMahon told a news conference. "The pace has picked up."

She said the tactics and techniques were becoming increasingly sophisticated, and attackers were clearly targeting Lockheed suppliers to gain access to information since the company had fortified its own networks.

U.S. officials have stepped up their warnings about cyber attacks on U.S. banks and other institutions in recent months, warning that attackers are developing the ability to strike U.S. power grids and government systems.

Lockheed officials declined to say if any of the attacks they had seen originated in Iran, which has been linked to recent denial-of-service attacks against U.S. financial institutions.

Rohan Amin, Lockheed program director for the Pentagon's Cyber Crime Center (DC3), said internal analysis showed that the number of campaigns had clearly grown, and multiple campaigns were often linked.

Lockheed recently wrested a $450 million contract to run the military cyber center away from long-time holder General Dynamics Corp.   Continued...