Ahead of the Game: Q&A with the VP of Cyber Security Solutions

It seems to be in the news every day. Cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent. Lockheed Martin has developed tactics to fight the aggressor before they intrude our network. We asked Lockheed Martin Vice President of Cyber Security Solutions Charles Croom to break down the hype.

We’ve heard a lot of information about new, more complex cyber threats. How can government agencies and companies successfully stop an attacker?

With advanced persistent threats, we used to believe that the adversary always had the advantage: the defender had to get it right every time, but the adversary just once. But we now know that the aggressor has no inherent advantage.

That’s because we have dealt with them for a decade and are becoming more familiar with them. Yes, cyber threats are growing in sophistication, but their persistence is actually their weakness. We now [recognize] that they have a series of seven steps that they must take in a sequential pattern before they can steal intellectual property or degrade the network -- and we have built capabilities around each one of these seven steps.

We call it the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain™.

How does Lockheed Martin protect our nation’s most critical information?

Lockheed Martin defends its own global network. It’s massive in size, serving 120,000 employees. And because we work on our nation’s weapons systems and protect our nation’s secrets, we are a high end target for adversaries, not unlike those going after the Department of Defense. So we have our own Security Intelligence Center, where we have cyber intel analysts who actually study our adversaries, who study our intrusions backward and forward along the cyber kill chain.

A recent report found that the most frequent culprit in data breaches is an employee, not a hacker. How can technology address this threat, whether it’s malicious or simply careless?

It certainly sits near the top of the list of hard problems, but it’s doable. A lot of the work being done goes back to the fact that every individual is an individual and each of us exhibits our own patterns and behaviors. If you can monitor those patterns and behaviors and look for deviations, you can discover a lot of things.That is an area that is being aggressively pursued.

The second thing is that individuals are still the weakest link. At Lockheed Martin, we have a continuous training program called the I-Campaign to teach our employees to think before opening emails that could be malicious.

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Charles Croom, Vice President on Cyber Security Solutions