In an effort to increase online defenses and prevent intrusions into government networks, the Department of Defense is looking to add more industry partners to a pilot program where DoD officials share classified cyber threat intelligence with the private sector, Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn said yesterday.
Speaking at the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Customer and Industry Forum in Baltimore, Lynn said that 20 companies are taking part in the program and it’s already showing signs of promise. Namely, showing “hundreds of signatures” and “hundreds of attempted intrusions,” Lynn said.
“We rely on private-sector networks and services to operate nearly every facet of the department,” Lynn told the gathering. “And the fact is that the private firms we depend on are susceptible to the same cyber threats we seek to protect dot-mil networks from.”
Defense officials are also talking with other government agencies to see if the concept can be applied to other sectors, most notably, power, transportation and energy. Lynn said that over the past decade the department has lost terabytes of data from defense companies’ corporate network, but intelligence can help curtail the problem in the future.
“This is not a type of problem like air defense where the military can take the mission largely on its own. Nor is it an area in which the private sector can do everything they need to do on their own,” he said. “It has to be a partnership between the types of capabilities and intelligence the government can bring, and the types of capabilities and technology the private sector can bring. And those two need to be combined to protect our vital infrastructure.”