14 Jul 2011

Defense Department outlines steps to secure its networks

The Pentagon released its official strategy for cyberspace operations on July 14, detailing four steps it will take to protect the 15,000 U.S. Department of Defense computer networks.

Implementing cyber hygiene best practices is foremost among the initiatives DoD says it will undertake to ensure computer health throughout its large and complex system. Workers will be trained to develop safe computing habits to guard against external breaches and thwart insider hacking. A second initiative will be the creation of a new workplace culture in which information assurance is prized and risky activities discouraged and punished.

The third computer security initiative involves improving existing cyber defense technologies, including "sensors, software and intelligence." The strategy document admits intrusions are not always repelled, and so DoD plans to improve its ability to detect and monitor malware on its systems. Lastly, the Pentagon pledges to continually innovate to meet the security challenges posed by emerging technology like cloud computing.

In remarks about the department's strategy, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn acknowledged cyber attacks in the last decade have managed to access critical national security information, including data related to satellite communications systems and surveillance methods.

Recently, military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton was hacked as part of the AntiSec campaign being waged by the group Anonymous against government and corporate websites.