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Arms giant Lockheed Martin under barrage of cyber attacks

US-based technology giant Lockheed Martin says there has been a sharp rise in cyber attacks on its own company networks as well as those belonging to its suppliers.

Representatives of the world’s largest arms dealer claim the firm and its affiliates have been bearing the brunt of increasingly sophisticated cyber weapons over recent years, and admit it is contracting suppliers to help shore up security.

"The number of campaigns has increased dramatically over the last several years," Lockheed vice president Chandra McMahon told a news conference, reports Reuters. "The pace has picked up."

McMahon added that 20 per cent of attacks aimed at Lockheed networks were considered advanced persistent threats; prolonged and targeted campaigns by a nation state or other group attempting to steal data or disrupt operations.

With the US seemingly behind the notorious Stuxnet and Flame viruses - themselves advanced persistent threats, launched for cyber espionage - Lockheed’s status as the government’s primary IT supplier appears to be attracting a lot of attacks its way.

The defence company’s own partners, including security group RSA, have also been compromised in recent years, with McMahon reporting a number of “very successful” attacks against business affiliates.