Petronella Blog Archive

Visit our New Blog

The US Beefs Up Cybersecurity

Blog Post

The US Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $1 billion contract to Raytheon to help beef up defenses against cyberattacks.

The Obama administration vowed to make cybersecurity a top priority on the heels of the embarrassing and devastating attacks on the Office of Personnel Management a few months back that compromised the personal data of millions of current and former government employees.  Senator John McCain recently said that cyberattacks have been perpetrated again America by China, Iran, North Korea and Russia, underscoring America's need to develop the ability to defend itself against such attacks.  Raytheon's Dave Wajsgras said that cyberattacks have increased an average of 66% a year since 2009.

The five-year Raytheon contract aims to shore up security for over 100 federal civilian agencies.  Raytheon has invested around $3.5 billion in its cybersecurity division.  Although headquartered in Boston, they now have a 30,000 square foot building in the Washington DC area.  In addition to the Homeland Security contract, they're in the running for another $2 million from DARPA's Grand Cyber Challenge, which aims to develop technology that automatically finds software vulnerabilities and fixes them.  (I think they should call it Wolverine or Weapon X, after the famous X-Men's ability to heal any wound or sickness.)

Raytheon is also working on what they call electronic armor, which is malware protection for the Internet of Things.  If you're not sure what that means, it's where ordinary items are connected to the internet, like a refrigerator that can text you when you're low on milk.  In a recent demonstration, two drones were flown side by side.  One had the electronic armor and the other did not.  When both were set upon with malware, the unprotected one crashed whereas the protected one was fine.