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Cyberattacks against Lockheed have 'increased dramatically'

The company in charge of the U.S. government's cybercrime lab announces a steep surge in the pace and sophistication of cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks against Lockheed Martin -- one of the largest defense contractors for the U.S. government -- have stepped up significantly in both pace and savvy, according to Reuters.

"The number of campaigns has increased dramatically over the last several years," Lockheed vice president and chief information security officer Chandra McMahon said in a news conference today, according to Reuters. "The pace has picked up."

McMahon claims that roughly 20 percent of the attacks are being perpetuated by other countries or groups that aim to steal information or threaten the company's operations. She told reporters that Lockheed considered the attacks to be "advanced persistent threats."

According to Reuters, the attackers also target suppliers when they are unable to breach Lockheed's networks. To combat this problem, Lockheed has contacted these suppliers to help amp up security.

After two of its suppliers were attacked in May 2011, Lockheed's networks were also penetrated by hackers. According to Reuters, McMahon said the main reason Lockheed's security was breached was because the hackers were able to steal information from its suppliers first.

"It's just one example of how the adversary has been very significant and tenacious and has really been targeting the defense industrial base," she said.

Less than a year after the 2011 attack, Lockheed won a multi-million dollar contract to run the U.S. government's cybercrime lab. The $454 million contract was awarded to the company to help the military investigate the increasing number of cyber threats and provide technical, functional, and managerial support to the lab.