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Lockheed Martin warns of growing APT threats after network attacks rise

13 Nov 2012
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Military supplier Lockheed Martin has cited a marked increase in the number, tenacity and sophistication of attacks targeting its networks as proof businesses must begin taking cyber security more seriously.

Reuters reported that a number of Lockheed Martin executives had confirmed that roughly 20 percent of the attacks detected targeting the company's network could be considered "advanced persistent threats".

Advanced persistent threat (APT) is a buzz word used in the security industry to refer to sophisticated attacks that continue to target their victims for prolonged periods.

APTs are considered dangerous as they do not follow the common opportunistic attack pattern used by most criminal groups, that move on to another target if they are unable to break in on their first attempt.

Lockheed vice president and chief information security officer, Chandra McMahon cited a recent attack on the company's network as proof that businesses with military data must begin addressing the issue of APTs.

"The adversary was able to get information from RSA and then they were also able to steal information from another supplier of ours, and they were able to put those two pieces of information together and launch an attack on us," McMahon said.

"It's just one example of how the adversary has been very significant and tenacious and has really been targeting the defence industrial base," she said.

At the time of publishing Lockheed Martin had not responded to V3's request for comment.

The disclosure follows widespread warnings within the security industry that businesses must change their attitude to security, if they want to combat the growing number of advanced threats targeting their networks.

Prior to Lockheed's warnings Symantec predicted the number of government-sponsored APT threats will rocket in 2013, in its latest predictions report on Monday.

The increased threat posed has convinced the UK government to instigate several new measures to improve the country's cyber security.

Most recently, GCHQ launched a new Cyber Incident Response initiative designed to offer companies and public sector organisations assistance in the aftermath of cyber security attacks.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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