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Defense Dept., Industry Join to Protect Data




Defense Dept., Industry Join to Protect Data
Defense Dept., Industry Join to Protect Data



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/24/AR2009052402140.html 

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 25, 2009

LINTHICUM, Md. -- At 2:42 p.m. one recent Wednesday, on the fourth floor 
of a squat brick office building under the flight path of jets landing 
at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, a Pentagon 
analyst skilled in parsing malicious computer code e-mailed a threat 
alert to 28 of the nation's largest defense contractors.

That morning, a defense company had told the Defense Department Cyber 
Crime Center about a significant probe of its computer network. The 
Pentagon analysts determined the code was present in several companies' 
networks and raised the alarm.

This information exchange took place, government and industry officials 
said, because the companies and the Pentagon have begun to trust one 
another. They are joining forces to stem the loss of important defense 
industry data -- by some estimates at least $100 billion worth in the 
past two years, reflecting the cost to produce the data and its value to 
adversaries.

For two years, the Defense Department has been collaborating with 
industry to try to better protect the firms' computer networks. Now, as 
the Obama administration ponders how to strengthen the nation's defenses 
against cyberattacks, it is considering ways to share the Pentagon's 
threat data with other critical industries, such as those that handle 
vastly larger amounts of data, including phone calls and private 
e-mails. The threat scenarios, experts say, are chilling: a months-long 
blackout of much of the United States, wide-scale corruption of 
electronic banking data, a disabling of the air traffic control system.

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