Feds Expand Cyber Awareness Program

Monday, August 22, 2011 @ 02:08 PM gHale

The idea of the government working together with industry sometimes gets a laugh and a shrug, but the Defense Department remains undaunted in its efforts to increase sharing classified and sensitive data about cyber attacks.

A three-month pilot program, the Industrial Base Cyber Pilot, has “stopped hundreds of attempted intrusions,” said Defense Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said at Defense Information Systems Agency conference in Baltimore. It also appears to be cost effective, he added.

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The program will extend beyond its original end date of Sept. 30. About 20 companies initially volunteered to participate in the pilot program. “In the coming months, we will expand the pilot to the rest of the industrial base, as well as other key areas of critical infrastructure,” Lynn said.

In addition to thwarting attacks against contractors, DoD said it identified strings of malware used by hackers. That information went into DoD network defenses and shared with companies participating in the pilot.

Knowledge of these malware signatures “dramatically increases the effectiveness of cyber security,” Lynn said.

DoD and its contractors must seize the current “window of opportunity” to strengthen their networks against destructive cyber threats, that if launched, would cause great physical damage and even loss of life, Lynn said.

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