Reuters Cybersecurity Summit Discusses Plans, Threats and Discoveries

Here are three main points from the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit 2014, held in Washington last week. All information is quoted from Reuters news articles, found on

Experts say U.S. industry too complacent about cyber risks

Experts say CEOs are complacent, and need to wake up to the huge cyber risks that are out there. Their equipment needs to be upgraded and their plans updated.

“I’m convinced the C-level executives don’t understand the risks they’re accepting,” said Digital Bond CEO Dale Peterson at the Reuters summit. Peterson is a top expert in industrial control systems.

“These systems are insecure by design. If they truly understood the risk they were taking, they would find it unacceptable,” said Peterson in a Reuters article.

He explained the main problem is with small computers called programmable logic controllers (PLCs). They’re used to control processes in energy plants, factories, water treatment facilities and the like. By design, they are easy to use for malicious purposes. The PLCs simply obey their commands, whatever those commands may be. Someone with bad intentions would only need to hack into the system and program the PLCs to cause an explosion, a flood or some kind of contamination for example, and it would happen.

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Cyber attacks quadrupled since 2007, says Lockheed

Representatives of Lockheed Martin Corp were at the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit last week to discuss an increase in cyber attacks against the company.

Lockheed, which according to Reuters is the number one provider of information technology to the U.S. government and the top Pentagon supplier, said the number of cyber attacks on its computer networks have more than quadrupled since 2007.

Lockheed, which is the weapons maker that builds the F-35 fighter jet, satellites and warships, identified 43 organizations that have been actively targeting its networks this year alone, and that number might go up. Compared to the 10 cyber campaigns Lockheed faced in 2007 and the 28 campaigns in 2010, the increase is significant to say the least.

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Iranian hackers becoming more aggressive, experts caution

Representatives of FireEye Inc, a cybersecurity company based in Silicon Valley, spoke at the summit about an Iranian hacking group. Called the Ajax Security Team, the group is the first Iranian hacking team known to use custom-built malicious software to start espionage campaigns. The Ajax Security Team is the group behind a continuous series of attacks on U.S. defense companies.

Nart Villeneuve, a researcher with FireEye, spoke at the summit.

“What we are seeing overall is a larger trend in the Iran hacker community to switch to more subtle espionage campaigns from attacks that make a lot of noise and are designed to attract attention for a particular cause or a particular group.”

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