The Senate Armed Services Committee included a provision in its markup of the Fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill that addresses communication lapses in cyber and tightens cybersecurity protocol. The move comes after the committee determined the Chinese government successfully hacked into US Transportation Command contractors’ computer systems numerous times without TRANSCOM detecting the intrusions, according to a Sept. 17 release. SASC reported 50 instances of compromise in the 12-month period beginning June 1, 2012. At least 20 of those, the report said, “were successful intrusions attributed to an ‘advanced persistent threat,’” or a government-associated threat. Contractor emails, documents, user passwords, computer code, flight details, credentials, and encryption passwords were compromised, as well as multiple systems onboard a commercial ship contracted by TRANSCOM. “We must ensure that cyber intrusions cannot disrupt our mission readiness,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the committee’s ranking member. The committee also found that although contractors, the FBI, and the Defense Department were aware of a number of attacks, TRANSCOM was only informed of two. (SASC report on cyber intrusions; Caution, large-sized file)
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.