With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) – and the potential cyber threats that come with this new arena – the Department of Defense (DoD) is shoring up one area that could be more dangerous than having your Internet-enabled refrigerator being hacked – missile defense.
According to the December Selected Acquisition Reports, which was released on July 18th, the DoD is allotting $431 million to shore up the cyber defenses on defensive ballistic missiles. As highlighted in this recent Federal Times article, if missiles become vulnerable to cyber infiltration, they could effectively be rendered useless against a threat or turned against the U.S.
“As technology evolves, it is critical that we protect our systems from a wide array of threats, including cyber threats, to ensure our systems remain ready when needed,” said Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, in the Federal Times article.
The DoD is fully justified in additional resources to this urgent cyber need – because these types of hacks are already starting to happen. According to report by cyberecurity firm FireEye, Chinese hackers attempted to breach an organization in South Korea that controls the U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
A typical kind of attack could include a hacker inserting fake information into a missile defense system telling service members that an enemy attack had been launched – which is not the case. Or, cyber hackers could tamper with the system enough to ensure that U.S. missiles don’t launch or have been programmed to miss their targets.
These scenarios point to the rising need for enhancing overall cyber capabilities for missile defense systems, which is the driver for the allotment of the $431 million to help address this critical need. This is why we are naming the DoD as this week’s GovTransformer. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.