Hagel Wants Unclassified Sensitive Data Protected from Cyber Spying

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 25, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel has ordered the De­fense De­part­ment to take steps to re­duce cy­ber hack­ers’ abil­ity to gain ac­cess to un­clas­si­fied con­trolled data, ac­cord­ing to a Thursday re­port from the Pentagon’s Amer­ic­an Forces Press Ser­vice.

In an Oct. 10 memo lay­ing out the new dir­ect­ives, Hagel said “stolen data provides po­ten­tial ad­versar­ies ex­traordin­ary in­sight in­to the United States’ de­fense and in­dus­tri­al cap­ab­il­it­ies and al­lows them to save time and ex­pense in de­vel­op­ing sim­il­ar cap­ab­il­it­ies.”

Hagel has ordered the of­fices of the un­der­sec­ret­ar­ies of De­fense for ac­quis­i­tion, tech­no­logy and lo­gist­ics; policy; and in­tel­li­gence, as well as the head Pentagon in­form­a­tion of­ficer, to co­oper­ate in de­vel­op­ing any needed al­ter­a­tions to de­part­ment policy, re­com­mend­a­tions and reg­u­la­tions in or­der to lim­it un­au­thor­ized en­tit­ies from gain­ing ac­cess to un­clas­si­fied sens­it­ive data loc­ated on or trans­mit­ted through de­fense firms’ com­puters or net­works.

“Pro­tec­tion of this data is a high pri­or­ity for the de­part­ment and is crit­ic­al to pre­serving the in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­erty and com­pet­it­ive cap­ab­il­it­ies of our na­tion­al in­dus­tri­al base and the tech­no­lo­gic­al su­peri­or­ity of our fielded mil­it­ary sys­tems,” Hagel wrote.

The Pentagon’s De­fense Se­cur­ity Ser­vice, which works to min­im­ize un­au­thor­ized ac­cess to U.S. weapons sys­tem de­tails, in its fisc­al 2012 re­port found that for the first time cy­ber es­pi­on­age had be­come the fa­vor­ite col­lec­tion meth­od for for­eign en­tit­ies seek­ing tech­nic­al in­form­a­tion about U.S. de­fense tech­no­lo­gies.

A sep­ar­ate 2013 re­port by the Pentagon’s ad­vis­ory De­fense Sci­ence Board con­cluded Chinese cy­ber sleuths had suc­cess­fully gained ac­cess to the blue­prints of a num­ber of U.S. bal­list­ic mis­sile de­fense sys­tems with roles in the Asia-Pa­cific.

The pil­fer­ing of un­clas­si­fied con­trolled tech­nic­al in­form­a­tion has grown to be­come a ma­jor is­sue for U.S. in­dus­tries, Pentagon spokes­wo­man Jen­nifer Eleza said. Among the un­clas­si­fied but still-sens­it­ive in­form­a­tion be­ing tar­geted is data on sys­tems pro­duc­tion, parts man­u­fac­tur­ing, schem­at­ics, en­gin­eer­ing, de­fense sys­tem re­quire­ments and con­cepts of op­er­a­tions.

The Pentagon has pro­posed amend­ing its rules for ac­quis­i­tion and con­tract­ing, ac­cord­ing to Eleza. The sug­ges­ted changes would man­date that de­fense con­tract­ors in­clude cer­tain se­cur­ity pro­to­cols in their net­works and re­port when cy­ber-breaches res­ult in the theft of un­clas­si­fied con­trolled data.

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