24K Pentagon Files Lost in Cyber Attack

Dennis Faas's picture

The United States Defense Department has openly admitted that it was attacked by a hacker in the spring of 2011, the result being the loss of some 24,000 documents. It remains unclear exactly who was behind the attack, with Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III blaming "foreign intruders".

Lynn recently announced the attack during a speech at the National Defense University. It was just one note in a very important discussion of the Defense Department's new strategy for preventing these kinds of attacks in the future.

DoD a Perpetual Target for Hackers

"The cyber threats we face are urgent, sometimes uncertain and potentially devastating as adversaries constantly search for vulnerabilities," Lynn said.

"Our infrastructure, logistics network and business systems are heavily computerized. With 15,000 networks and more than seven million computing devices, DoD continues to be a target in cyberspace for malicious activity." (Source: pcmag.com)

A 19-page report outlined the Defense Department's new tactics in waging a future war with cyber-criminals, including:

  • Team up with other government agencies to provide a government-wide cyber protection strategy.
  • Team up with other, friendly governments around the world.
  • Consult private sector security experts who can help keep vital government agencies safe from hackers.

Educating Government Workforce Key to Security

Being better equipped to prevent further breaches also means educating government workers about the kinds of threats found online.

"People are the Department's first line of defense in sustaining good cyber hygiene and reducing insider threats," the Defense Department said in a recent report.

"[The US Department of Defense] seeks to foster a stronger culture of information assurance within its workforce to assure individual responsibility and deter malicious insiders by shaping behaviors and attitudes through the imposition of higher costs for malicious activity."

While the government's plan to protect itself against these kinds of attacks may or may not be successful, one thing that is for sure is that the threat posed to public agencies is growing all the time. According to one report, 250,000 potential hackers investigate the Pentagon's defense network every single hour. (Source: ibtimes.com)

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