- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2015

Defense contractors are now required to notify the Pentagon of any cyberattacks or data breaches within 72 hours of discovery, as new rules are rolled out to mitigate future hacks against the military and its clients.

The interim rule published Wednesday in the Federal Register outlines new procedures for contractors to follow in the event of what the Department of Defense calls “cyber incidents,” or actions that result in a compromise or an actual or potentially adverse effect on an information system.

Effective immediately, contractors whose cloud services host unclassified material are required to alert the department within 72 hours of any such incidents and then prepare to hand the Pentagon digital evidence involving the attack.

“This rule is intended to streamline the reporting process for [Defense Department] contractors and minimize duplicative reporting processes,” said the Pentagon, which is accepting comments for 60 days before finalizing the policy.

Along with the completion of an incident report, contractors must also “preserve and protect images of all known affected information systems” for at least 90 days to be supplied to investigators along with any isolated malware that might be to blame.

According to the Pentagon, upwards of 10,000 contractors who store data on the cloud are covered under the rule. In a report published this week by security firm CloudLock, meanwhile, researchers concluded that roughly one percent of users are responsible for around 75 percent of the security risks faced by entities who operate on the cloud.

“Cyber attacks today target your users — not your infrastructure. As technology leaders wake up to this new reality, security programs are being reengineered to focus where true risk lies: with the user,” CloudLock CEO and co-founder Gil Zimmermann said upon release of the report this week. “The best defense is to know what typical user behavior looks like — and, more importantly, what it doesn’t.”

In spring 2011, hackers targeted major defense contractors Lockheed Martin and L-3 Communications. That summer, hacktivists aligned with the Anonymous movement posted files stolen from the computer of an employee of Virginia-based contractor ManTech who held a government security clearance,

Weeks later, hackers leaked thousands of credentials purported to have been stolen from the servers of Booz Allen Hamilton — the same government client that once employed Edward Snowden, the former intelligence analyst blamed for one of the biggest national security breaches of all time.

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