Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn touted the benefits of intelligence information sharing between defense contractors and the department as a step in increasing cyber defenses across the intelligence community.

Lynn spoke about cyber warfare and updated on the Defense Department’s programs to combat cyber threats, including the Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot, at the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Customer and Industry Forum in Baltimore, Md. this week.

“Already, the pilot has shown us hundreds of signatures we wouldn’t previously have seen” and stopped hundreds of attempted intrusions, said Lynn.

Lynn noted that the success of the pilot has encouraged the department, with success being seen in the 20 participating companies. Now halfway through the 90-day pilot, they’re already looking into advancing their involvement and adding new participating companies. Cyber intrusions that may have succeeded have been thwarted, thanks to the program.

The most significant cyber threat has been the “exploitation of our networks” said Lynn, with huge amounts of data stolen from government and commercial networks on a daily basis. Intelligence has allowed insight into some of the malicious code being used to breach those networks, and sharing that information across defense and commercial networks operated for DoD helps keep that critical data more safe.

“We rely on private-sector networks and services to operate nearly every facet of the department,” Lynn said. “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.”

Lynn noted that government can’t combat the cyber threat alone, but needs the help of the private sector and cooperation between industry partners. One area where industry and government will need to come together in the coming years is in fiscal responsibility. Funds to combat threats are limited, and new efficiencies and innovations, including cloud computing and consolidating data centers will need to be used to save money.

“For the past decade, we have lived in a world where we could meet new security challenges with increased resources,” said Lynn. “Going forward, we will not have that luxury. We are going to have to make hard choices. Our challenge is to accommodate changing fiscal circumstances without undercutting our military effectiveness.”

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