Pentagon Wants to Attack Hackers

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Charles Arthur
The Guardian
July 15, 2011

The Pentagon may have to redesign some of its weapons system after a foreign intelligence service hacked into systems at a corporate contractor and obtained 24,000 key files in March.

The incursion was one of the worst single incidents the US defense department has seen. Though it did not name the contractor nor the country suspected of carrying out the attack, Lockheed Martin said in May that it had come under attack. China and Russia have frequently been suspected of carrying out internet espionage, with China the most prominent in recent years.

US defense chiefs now think they need to have a means of response against such incursions. “We’re on a path that is too predictable, way too predictable,” General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said on Thursday. “It’s purely defensive. There is no penalty for attacking us now. We have to figure out a way to change that.” Hours later, the deputy defense secretary, William Lynn, presented a strategy whose thrust, he said, is defensive and focused on “denying the benefit of an attack”.

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