Pentagon: Defense Industry Suffered Massive Spring Cyberattack
The Department of Defense unveiled its Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace.
CREDIT: U.S. Air Force
A top Pentagon official revealed today (July 14) that a major defense contractor suffered one of its largest-ever cyberattacks this past spring, a single incident that resulted in the theft of more than 20,000 sensitive files.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III announced that 24,000 files were illegally obtained from a defense industry computer network, and although Lynn offered no other details about the data intrusion, he did admit that a foreign government was behind the attack.
Lynn disclosed the breach during his speech today in which he unveiled the Department of Defense's Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace.
The government plan is designed to protect the nation's security by mitigating "the risks posed to U.S. and allied cyberspace capabilities, while protecting and respecting the principles of privacy and civil liberties, free expressing, and innovation that have made cyberspace an integral part of U.S. prosperity and security."
"In the 21st century, bits and bytes can be as threatening as bullets and bombs," Lynn said in his speech.
To adequately defend the nation in this new technological battleground, the government, Lynn said, must treat cyberattacks in the same way it deals with physical threats.
"The Defense Department is treating cyberspace as an operational domain, like land, air, sea, and space," Lynn said.
"It would be irresponsible," Lynn added, "and a failure of the Defense Department's mission, to leave the nation vulnerable to a known threat. Just as our military organizes to defend against hostile acts from land, air, and sea, we must also be prepared to respond to hostile acts in cyberspace."
The Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace also highlights the government's need to deter cybercriminals from launching attacks by removing the rewards reaped from such illegal intrusions.
"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."