Lockheed Martin thwarts ‘tenacious’ attack on servers

30 May 2011

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Global aerospace and military technology giant Lockheed Martin has claimed to have defeated a relentless cyber attack on its networks.

It is understood that Lockheed – which mains military aircraft, spy planes, satellites and much more – discovered an intruder trying to break in and as a result shut everything down and issued employees with new security tokens and passwords.

In a statement, the company said: “On Saturday, May 21, Lockheed Martin detected a significant and tenacious attack on its information systems network. The company’s information security team detected the attack almost immediately, and took aggressive actions to protect all systems and data. As a result of the swift and deliberate actions taken to protect the network and increase IT security, our systems remain secure; no customer, program or employee personal data has been compromised.

“Throughout the ongoing investigation, Lockheed Martin has continued to keep the appropriate US government agencies informed of our actions. The team continues to work around the clock to restore employee access to the network, while maintaining the highest level of security.

“To counter the constant threats we face from adversaries around the world, we regularly take actions to increase the security of our systems and to protect our employee, customer and program data. Our policies, procedures and vigilance mitigate the cyber threats to our business, and we remain confident in the integrity of our robust, multi-layered information systems security,” the company said.

With revenues in the range of US$45bn a year, Lockheed Martin is the largest military contractor in the US.

Is there a connection with RSA data breach in March?

What is far from clear is just how much the attack stemmed from the data breach at RSA in March, which some reports from the US suggest has been a factor.

RSA’s technology is used by many Fortune 500 companies to protect authentication and the company, which is owned by EMC, sustained a sophisticated cyber attack in March.

“We have no evidence that customer security related to other RSA products has been similarly impacted,” chairman Art Coviello explained at the time. “We are also confident that no other EMC products were impacted by this attack. It is important to note that we do not believe that either customer or employee personally identifiable information was compromised as a result of this incident."

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com