Pentagon Seeks Hacker Proof Weapon Systems

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The top American arms buyer wants future US weapon systems to be hacker-proof

The alarming prospect of hackers seizing control of American weapon systems has been raised by the US Pentagon.

It has called for future weapon platforms to be secured against any form of cyber intrusion.

Weapon Security

The call came from Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall, speaking to Reuters shortly after a speech to the American Society of Naval Engineers in Washington.

Kendall reportedly admitted that cyber attacks on US weapons programs and manufacturers are a “pervasive” problem that requires greater attention.

tank“It’s about the security of our weapons systems themselves and everything that touches them. It’s a pervasive problem and I think we have to pay a lot more attention to it,” Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall told Reuters.

Kendall also then explained how he is going to add cybersecurity to the next phase of his “better buying power” initiative.

He was also reportedly working on a special section on cybersecurity requirements to be added to the Pentagon’s guidelines for buying weapons.

Ongoing Attacks

Cyber attacks against US defence contractors have been ongoing for a number of years now, but the admission of potential compromises of US weapon platforms will raise concern around the world.

In 2011, the Pentagon admitted that a foreign government was behind a cyber-attack against US military computers that led to 24,000 files being stolen from a defence contractor.

In 2012, the White House was forced denied reports that critical information had been stolen after reports suggested that Chinese hackers had penetrated US systems used to access nuclear secrets.

In 2013, a confidential report for Pentagon, produced by the Defense Science Board, revealed that more than 24 major weapons designs belonging to the US had been pilfered by Chinese hackers, including ones deemed critical to America’s defensive and offensive operations. Information stolen concerned information on US missile defenses, combat aircraft and ships.

And in January this year, the Defense Department’s chief weapons tester told the US Congress that nearly every US weapons programme showed “significant vulnerabilities” to cyber attacks, including misconfigured, unpatched and outdated software.

Indeed, so serious has the issue become that President Barack Obama has included a demand in his fiscal 2016 budget proposal for $14bn (£9.23bn) to bolster cybersecurity protection. That money would be used to protect federal and private networks from hacking threats. And it seems that $5.5bn ($3.6bn) of that money alone would be used to secure the Pentagon.

The Pentagon has previously made public that the United States military has the right to retaliate with military force against a cyber-attack.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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