The Department of Defense (DOD) is the United States federal department responsible for protecting the homeland and U.S. interests through management of military affairs and strong defense strategies, which often include the formation of contracts with private cybersecurity companies to help keep networks secure from foreign cyberattacks.
While government agencies have been increasingly prioritizing cybersecurity measures in recent years, the DOD is still lagging behind in regards to the implementation of cybersecurity measures within its various agencies. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, many defense personnel do not feel like they are equipped to handle cybersecurity threats, and this is because there has yet to be an inter-office agency created that specializes in addressing cyber threats.
Even with the implementation of additional steps to protect DOD networks, such as implementing stronger password requirements and better training for personnel on cyber security, the agency is still at high risk for future attacks.
This article explains why cybersecurity in defense contracts is so important, discusses how it can help agencies like the DOD reach new levels of security, and offers suggestions for strategies that the DOD can implement to increase its overall security.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting networks, computers, programs and data from attack by malicious hackers. In today’s world, this remains a top priority for law enforcement agencies who are increasingly seeing instances of large-scale cyber attacks on both government and private networks.
The DOD needs cybersecurity because it is responsible for leading the nation’s defense efforts, and for this reason it is a large target for foreign cyberattacks. While there have been cases of successful breaches on military networks in the past, these events were not publicized by government officials due to the sensitive nature of the information that was breached.
Why Do We Need Cybersecurity?
Cyber security is necessary for the DOD because there has been a steady increase of targeted attacks on government agencies and civilian targets in recent years. These cyberattacks come in many forms, including data breaches, phishing scams and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
DDoS attacks happen when an individual or group gains control of thousands of connected devices to send a large amount of traffic at one time. This type of attack was used in October 2016 against Dyn, an internet infrastructure company that provided service for Twitter and Reddit among other websites.
In addition to attacks by foreign entities, cybersecurity is also necessary because the DOD must be able to protect itself from insider threats: employees and contractors who may attempt to steal sensitive government information.
Here are some statistics regarding cybersecurity:
– The average time to contain a data breach in 2016 was 197 days, and the U.S Department of Defense networks were breached an average of three times in one year. 
– In 2015, there were more than 1 Million recorded attempts to breach U.S government agencies, both in the defense and civilian sectors. 
– According to one report form 2016, insider threats are nine times more likely to result in a data breach than an outsider attack.