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Pentagon, DHS Probe Expanding Sharing of Cyber Threat Intel with Contractors

The Defense Department plans to expand the sharing of classified cyber threat intelligence between the Pentagon and certain contracting firms to better secure commercial networks used for military purposes, Pentagon officials said.

A test program, which ran from May 9 through Sept. 15, prevented hundreds of attempted breaches at 20 participating industrial defense firms, officials said.

“This fall, following completions of the independent evaluation, the DoD hopes to make the pilot a permanent effort and, working in conjunction with our interagency partners, to then expand the program to other critical defense companies in the [defense industrial base],” said Pentagon spokeswoman April Cunningham.

The Department of Homeland Security established the pilot program in coordination with the Pentagon. DHS deals with intrusions on critical civilian networks, such as power grids.

“The administration is looking at a variety of ways to work with private sector critical infrastructure companies and help them protect themselves from cyber threats,” DHS spokesman Chris Ortman said. “We are now evaluating [the cyber pilot’s] effectiveness and potential before deciding whether or not to expand its scope.”

The Pentagon has acknowledged hackers have been able to penetrate corporate networks that transfer sensitive surveillance, satellite communications and network security data.

In May, Lockheed Martin detected and prevented what it called “a significant and tenacious attack” on its network.

Pentagon officials have said the pilot appears to be cost-effective.

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