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Lockheed to cyber-armour its supply chain against 'the Adversary'

Death-tech goliath faces tougher enemies than most

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Top Pentagon supplier Lockheed Martin says its computer networks are under increasing heavy fire from hackers, forcing it to beef up its supply chain's defences.

Lockheed veep and chief information security officer Chandra McMahon said about a fifth of the assaults were considered "advanced persistent threats", which are attacks by a nation or well-organised group trying to steal data or mess up the firm's operations.

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

Not only are there more attacks, they're also more sophisticated. And the hackers are targeting Lockheed's suppliers to get the information they can't steal from the main organisation's networks, she added.

The famous cyber-attack against Lockheed in May 2011 was a result of hacks at two of its suppliers, McMahon said: RSA, the security division of EMC, and another firm.

"The adversary was able to get information from RSA 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," McMahon said.

"It's just one example of how the adversary has been very significant and tenacious and has really been targeting the defence industrial base."

She said Lockheed had been tracking that particular enemy for years before the attack and was able to stop it getting into its own systems. Now the company realises it has to share its knowledge with others in the defence sector and with suppliers. ®

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