Cyberdefenses not ready to handle ‘electronic Pearl Harbor,’ experts say

June 3, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via Stars and Stripes

NAPLES, Italy – The breach of Google’s Gmail accounts comes only a week after U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced that it had weathered a “sustained and tenacious” hack on its computer networks. Cybersecurity experts say, while such attacks are worrisome, they are not surprising and are indicative of the need to strengthen cyberdefenses, particularly in private-sector businesses that have access to sensitive information.

Lockheed does a lot of business with the Pentagon, building missile defense components, fighter jets and a bevy of other products that led to sales of $45 billion in 2010 alone.

All that business brings a lot of juicy information to its networks, data on the cutting-edge technology that gives the American military its edge in the world.

Data that other countries would love to have.

Google said senior U.S. government officials and military personnel were among those whose personal Gmail accounts were broken into.

In an email to Lockheed employees that was posted on the company’s Web site after the May 21 incident, Chief Information Officer Sondra Barbour wrote that the company implemented a plan to strengthen its IT security after this latest intrusion.

“There has been no compromise of our customer, program or employees’ personal data,” Barbour wrote. “In this new reality we are a frequent target of adversaries around the world.”

Analysts say the U.S. has faced what some call an “electronic Pearl Harbor” over the past decade, a pilfering of American economic and intellectual property via computer hacking that bypasses government cyberdefenses.

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