Cyber Warfare: How the U.S. Military, Tech Companies Shield Themselves

The past few years have taught us that no single entity is safe from hacks, leaks or data breaches.

That includes major corporations, credit reporting agencies and even the U.S. government.

The United States Military Academy at West Point has a department called the Army Cyber Institute dedicated to predicting future weapons and defenses used on the digital battlefield.

Maj. Natalie Vanatta, the institute’s deputy chief of research, said the military think tank is focused on future technology that could affect U.S. forces.

“We’re not part of the day-to-day fight,” Vanatta said. “Unlike any other group in the military, all we focus on is how we can help prepare our forces to be able to fight against the adversaries we think will be there.”

One wartime factor that Vanatta said the Army Cyber Institute takes into account is how soldiers will carry connected devices or sensors that allow them to function more efficiently during battle.

“We need to think about how we protect differently and how we can’t control the battle space as we have in the past,” Vanatta said.

At the data analytics company Uptake, Matt Jakubowski is director of the “hackers and hunters” team, which tests the company’s cybersecurity for vulnerabilities.

Jakubowski said a company is especially susceptible when it operates a database that’s “external-facing,” or can be accessed remotely via the Internet.

“They’re leaving the windows and doors open to their house, instead of shutting them,” Jakubowski said. “They’re allowing hackers to look in easily and go in and grab things through the window instead of securing those services, or locking the window and bringing the shades down.”

Vanatta and Jakubowski join Chicago Tonight to discuss how the private and public sectors are impacted by cyberattacks.


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