Lockheed Boeing create units to protect cyberspace

Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. have formed business units to tap into the expected increase in federal spending to protect U.S. government computers from attack, reports Bloomberg News.

The contractors are eager to capture a share of a market that may reach $11 billion in four years, the news agency said.

Federal market forecaster Input forecasts that U.S. government spending to secure military, intelligence and other agency computer networks is forecast to rise 44 percent to $10.7 billion in 2013 from $7.4 billion in 2008, Bloomberg reported.

Chicago-based Boeing set up its cyber solutions division in August “because of a realization by the company that it’s a very serious threat,” Barbara Fast, vice president of the unit, told the news agency. “It’s not a question of if we’ll be attacked, but when and so how will we be prepared.”

Lockheed Martin launched its cyber-defense operation in October. Cyber is probably one of the faster-growing areas of the U.S. budget, added Linda Gooden, executive vice president of Lockheed’s Information Systems and Global Services unit. “It’s something that we’re very focused on.”

The number of security breaches of U.S. and private-computer networks reported to the Computer Emergency Readiness of the Homeland Security Department almost doubled to 72,000 in the fiscal year ended in October from about 37,000 the previous year, DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa told Bloomberg.

Lockheed Martin, of Bethesda, Md., ranks No. 1 on Washington Technology’s 2008 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors. Boeing, of Chicago, ranks No. 2 on the list.

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