The New York Times
July 14, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department suffered one of its worst digital attacks in history in March, when foreign hackers broke into the computers of a corporate contractor and obtained 24,000 sensitive Pentagon files during a single intrusion, senior officials said on Thursday.

The disclosure came as the Pentagon released a strategy for military operations in cyberspace, embodying a belief that traditional passive programs for defending Pentagon data systems are insufficient in an era when espionage, crime, disruptions and attacks are increasingly carried out over the Internet.

In releasing the strategy, William J. Lynn III, the deputy defense secretary, disclosed that over the years “crucial” files stolen from defense industry data networks have included plans for missile tracking systems, satellite navigation devices, unmanned surveillance drones and top-of-the-line jet fighters.

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