Military Embedded Systems

Record number of cyber attacks hit Lockheed Martin in 2014


February 18, 2015

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

ARLINGTON, VA. Lockheed Martin President and CEO Marillyn Hewson, announced that Lockheed Martin was hit by 50 cyber attacks during 2014, the most the company has ever seen directed against it and Hewson says she expects the number to only increase.

She made her remarks during an address to journalists at Lockheed Martin's corporate media day in Arlington, Va. During a break out session, myself and a few other journalists met with the company's cyber leadership who said the number of 50 attacks was up significantly from 28 in 2010 when there only 10 attacks.

Lockheed Martin expects that number to only increase as there are more players -- nation states and other groups -- with the capability to deliver cyber attacks, said Chandra McMahon, Vice President of Commercial Markets for Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions (IS & GS) in King of Prussia, Pa. The company is typically targeted due to its work in the defense industry, other arms of the U.S. government, oil and gas industry, and other critical infrastructure, she added.

McMahon said the majority of the 50 attacks in 2014 were email spear phish attacks, which are about learning where the soft points are in a system, searching for vulnerabilities, etc. [Spear phishing attacks are emails that appear to be from a familiar individual or organization, but are really attempts to get access to confidential information such as financial data and military and business secrets.]

For each incident Lockheed Martin would stop the attack, analyze it, share information with government and others in the defense industry to see if the same adversaries are attacking other companies, she continued. The sharing is done through a of different forums in the industry, McMahon added.

The attacks were not successful in that they did not meet their objective, said Darrell Durst, Vice President of Operations for Defense and Intelligence Solutions at Lockheed Martin IS & GS. When an attack happens "our first goal is to stop and it and protect our assets" then if necessary turn the data on the attack over to the appropriate authorities to pursue potential criminal charges or other avenues.

"We often don't know what the intent is and shouldn't care what the original intent is, our goal is to stop it" and learn how the adversary got in and advanced so it can be prevented by Lockheed Martin and others in the future, Durst added.

Lockheed Martin stopped the majority of 2014 attacks in their delivery phase, or in other words before the attack progressed down the cyber kill chain toward more sensitive targets, McMahon said. Different technologies were used to thwart the attacks based on how the attack was happening and how best to stop it, she added.

Lockheed Martin's cyber business is about $1 billion annually and growing, McMahon says. The company provides cyber solutions domestic and internationally and to defense, government, oil & gas, healthcare, and other markets. For about 80 percent of of cyber applications Lockheed Martin is involved in they help users implement the necessary security tools and practices to put in place and for the other 20 percent -- which cover advanced threats and intel management -- the company provides custom, Lockheed Martin-developed solutions.


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