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Defence industry looks to cash in on soaring cyber-spend

With governments around the world preparing to spend unprecedented amounts on cyber weapons this year, major defence contractors are seeking increased involvement in the production and selling of digital arms.

The Fiscal Times has today reported a partnership between the US Pentagon and the arms sector that is bringing close cyber collaboration with Washington and top defence firms like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

The report claims the partnership has become “increasingly active” of late, as contractors look to supply the US Defence Department with a cyber arsenal capable of defending its own networks, and attacking other IT systems around the world.

“Top tier contractors in the defense industrial base are all part of an information sharing program,” Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer of security firm MANDIANT told the site. “These companies are doing original research and sharing it amongst themselves and the Pentagon. The team is highly functioning and they find stuff that other people don’t find.”

Bejtich said the collaboration is crucial to the US’s cyber defence strategy. Barack Obama’s recent executive order suggests its importance will grow too, as the President moves to increase the sharing of cyber intelligence between the public and private sectors.

Testifying to the growing trend is The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Having published its annual report on cyber security, SIPRI officials said they expect greater expenditure on cyber defence across the world, reports ABC.

"Cybersecurity has become a top national security issue and there has been a lot of discussion about that over the last year," said the institute’s cyber security expert Vincent Boulanin. "Countries are willing to gear up to face potential cyberthreats from other countries or private actors."