The Pentagon has spent a reported US$100 million preventing and repairing damage from online attacks.
Air Force General Kevin Chilton, head of the US Strategic Command, claimed that the money was being spent on computer equipment, contractors and manpower following external attacks and internal mistakes.
Chilton told Associated Press at a cybersecurity conference in Nebraska: “The important thing is that we recognise that we are under assault from the least sophisticated - what I would say the bored teenager - all the way up to the sophisticated nation-state, with some pretty criminal elements sandwiched in-between. This is indeed our big challenge, as we think about how to defend it.”
Meanwhile the Wall St Journal claimed that cyber spies have siphoned off critical data from Pentagon contractors, including one breach that cost a major aerospace contractor $15 million.
It said that intelligence officials estimate annual US losses from breaches to be in the billions of dollars, and some worry that cyber attackers could take control of a nuclear power plant or subway line via the internet - or wipe out the data of a major financial institution.
Spending this year is expected to reach $6 billion, and depending on the outcome of a 60-day White House review due next month, spending could range from $15 billion to $30 billion in the next five years.