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November 14, 2012

Suppliers to Lockheed Under Cyber-Attack

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

Lockheed Martin (News - Alert) is the largest supplier to the United States Pentagon, and it now reports the number of cyber-attacks against the company has increased with the sophistication the hackers are attempting to use.

Lockheed Martin is contacting its suppliers to have the firm increase its security measures to prevent hackers from accessing its networks and servers.

Lockheed Martin’s vice president and chief information security officer, Chandra McMahon, described one-fifth of the threats directed at Lockheed networks as “advance, persistent threats; prolonged and targeted attacks by a nation state or other group trying to steal data or harm operations.” 

She went on to suggest the number of campaigns to threaten Lockheed has increased dramatically over the course of the last few years.

U.S. financial institutes have lately faced a notable amount of cyber-attacks, and United States officials have encouraged banks and other major corporations to increase their security measures to prevent a successful attack from happening. 

Officials have stated that hackers are beginning to attempt attacks against government systems and city power grids.

The company is not saying from where these attacks are originating, but recent cyber-attacks against national financial institutes have been linked to Iran. A director at Lockheed Martin said the number of attempted cyber-attacks has grown, and often many of these attacks are linked to one another.

Lockheed Martin is the largest technology provider to the United States government, having recently taken over the contract to a military cyber center once managed by General Dynamics (News - Alert) Corporation. One of its chief objectives is to maintain security of data used by various military and civic organizations. 

Maintaining that security entails selling cyber security systems to other corporations, many of which are already suppliers to Lockheed Martin, as well as to foreign government agencies.

Chandra McMahon also stated that Lockheed has seen “very successful” attacks against “a number of” the company’s suppliers,” and was “focusing heavily” on “helping those companies improve their security.”

She noted that a “well-publicized” cyber-attack that Lockheed’s networks faced in May of 2011 came after the computer systems of two of their suppliers were compromised; “the adversary was able to get information from RSA (News - Alert) and then they were also able to steal information from another supplier of ours, and they were able to put those two pieces of information together and launch an attack on us.”

Thankfully, Lockheed Martin had been monitoring for such an attack and thwarted it, effectively preventing any loss of data.

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