Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lockheed Martin Networks Hacked, Response Prevents PR Crisis

The U.S. government said Saturday that U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. was hit by a cyber attack on May 21st. The hackers used falsified SecurID electronic tokens to gain access into the manufacturer’s network. The event raised concerns on the stability of larger company’s IT structure, as it followed other significant cyber attacks that caused companies heavy financial problems, and data loss.
Somehow, despite Lockheed’s late statements, the incident was cautiously related by the media, as a “no biggie.” Lockheed was hacked, but don’t worry, everything is fine. As the media controls the public response, the public interest in the issue is mild, and not many news outlets covered the story.
Sure, weekends were never big on news, and a Memorial Day weekend, with many people out of the office, enjoying a well-deserved break, helped a lot too. But it’s a bit puzzling that the reports come when America is busy paying tribute to its military heroes. Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest defense contractors, and the most important in the United States as well. The press coverage comes a week after the fact. It’s hard to trace who related it first, but issues like this should never see the presses in the first place.
By its nature, Lockheed is a holder of many military secrets, crucial for the safety of the entire US nation. If news spreads that the company’s networks can be hacked, that their systems can fail, this can only encourage more hackers to consolidate their efforts to break in.
According to Gizmodo, the attacks are being traced back to an hacking campaign back in March on the RSA Security arm of the EMC Corporation, an information storage firm.
Fortunately, this time, Lockheed detected the threat quickly and no customer, program or employee personal data had been compromised:
“To counter any threats, we regularly take actions to increase the security of our systems and to protect our employee, customer and program data. We have policies and procedures in place to mitigate the cyber threats to our business, and we remain confident in the integrity of our robust, multi-layered information systems security,” Lockheed spokesman Jeff Adams told Fox News.
Despite these insurances, the event did cause a bit of panic at Lockheed, where all the employee SecureIDs had to be replaced, and employees were also asked reset all of their passwords as a precaution. This, however, is not enough – a breakable system is a faulty system, and Lockheed will have to invest in more secure technologies fast, to prevent this from happening again.


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