Northrop Grumman to develop defenses against bugs : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

May 17, 2000 - 09:14 PM

Northrop Grumman Working to Defend Military Against Enemy Computer Bugs By Gary Gentile The Associated Press

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - Describing battlefields where software will be as important as fighter jets, officials with the company that built the B-2 stealth bomber say they will develop defenses against computer programs designed to disrupt military electronics. "Unfortunately, in this era of increasing reliance on computers, and particularly on links between computers, there are more and more opportunities for conspirators to invade and corrupt systems," said Kent Kresa, Northrop Grumman's chairman and chief executive officer.

Kresa made his comments Wednesday during the company's annual stockholders meeting in Santa Monica.

He said the company's Logicon division in Herndon, Va., is working to help the military detect intrusions and recover critical data in real time - a concept called "information resiliency."

Government agencies or corporations can take days to repair the damage done by rogue computer programs such as the "I Love You" virus. But battlefield commanders can't wait to fix missile guidance systems or repair surveillance data corrupted by an enemy computer bug, Kresa said.

"Such cyber attacks, especially on computer-networked battle management systems, offer a glimpse into how future information battles, or cyber wars, may be fought," Kresa said. "Such cyber battles will be won not only by the smartest and most capable aircraft, but also by the smartest and most robust software."

Kresa said Logicon represents the future of the company, which can no longer rely on the military to spend billions on new airplanes and other hardware. He said the revenues produced by Logicon were small now, but would become more significant as the military began spending more money on the problem.

"We're positioning ourselves to be a leader," he said.

Northrop Grumman built the B-2 stealth bomber, a contract that brought billions to the company. The last plane scheduled to be built will be dedicated in July.

Kresa would not say if the company also was working to develop a computer bug weapon that would infiltrate and damage the electronics controlling an enemy's weapon systems.

"It's a logical conclusion," he said. "I won't comment on whether it's happening or not happening."

-- Martin Thompson (, May 17, 2000


The NG boys are going to have their work cut out for them. Here in Texas a lot of IT work is subcontracted to private firms. These firms are in the dark with respect to the arcana of agency software. they have no control over the activity of state employees and other contractors. They rely on native gurus within each agency to assist them in their job performance.

The whole problem with privatizing functions in government systems is the lack of centralization where monitoring and control are issues. Now matter how good defensive software is, it's not worth a damn without integrating user functions in an IT system. No contractor can monitor and assume control of governmental users, whether state, local or federal. The only body with that sort of power would be specially created IT agencies on state and federal levels. I don't advocate control on the www , but I think we've lost the upper hand in the security arena as far as any form of government IT is concerned. Weapons-systems are attention getters. The real danger may lie in the potential or real-time manipulation of government economic and legal systems. Results of this type of activity will be incremental and difficult to identify at onset. The results will be devastating on a long term basis. Economic terrorism was a well developed concept long before IT became necessary to civil order. A potent weapon has been handed over to hostile political entities. The profit gained through privatization may prove to be the contemporary equivalent of selling our birthright for a mess of pottage.

-- fallen defenses (, May 18, 2000.

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