Pentagon extends program to defend cyber networks

September 26, 2011 - 3:30 AM
Military Cyberdefense

Computer hard drives, from closed criminal cases, sit on a shelf waiting to be wiped of information at the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center in Linthicum, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. Hackers and hostile nations are launching increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks against U.S. defense contractors. And the Pentagon is extending a program to help protect its prime suppliers, while serving as a possible model for other government agencies. Pentagon analysts are investigating a growing number of cases involving the mishandling or removal of classified data from military and corporate systems. Defense officials say intrusions into defense networks are now close to 30 percent of the Pentagon's Cyber Crime Center's workload. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hackers and hostile nations are launching increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks against U.S. defense contractors. And the Pentagon is extending a program to help protect its prime suppliers, while serving as a possible model for other government agencies.

That program is being evaluated by the Homeland Security Department, as part of a potential effort to extend similar protections to power plants, the electric grid and other critical infrastructure.

Pentagon analysts are investigating a growing number of cases involving the mishandling or removal of classified data from military and corporate systems. Defense officials say intrusions into defense networks are now close to 30 percent of the Pentagon's Cyber Crime Center's workload.