Survey Finds Snowden Has Changed Defense Contractors' Security Practices

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A survey of 100 IT and security managers or staff at defense contractor organizations that handle data for the U.S. government has found that 75 percent of respondents said the Edward Snowden affair has changed their companies' cyber security practices in one of the following ways:

  • 55 percent say their employees now receive more cybersecurity awareness training
  • 52 percent have reviewed or re-evaluated employee data access privileges
  • 47 percent are on higher alert for anomalous network activity by employees
  • 41 percent have implemented stricter hiring practices
  • 39 percent say their own IT administrative rights have been restricted

The survey, conducted by Opinion Matters for ThreatTrack Security, also found that 62 percent of respondents said they remain concerned that their organization is vulnerable to APTs, targeted malware attacks and sophisiticated cybercrime and cyber-espionage tactics.

Sixty-one percent said the most difficult aspect of defending against advanced malware is the volume of malware attacks, while 59 percent blamed the complexity of the malware.

Notably, 26 percent of respondents also said there's a shortage of highly-skilled security personnel on staff.

"It's interesting to note that while defense contractors seem to have better security practices in place and are more transparent than many companies in the private sector, they are finding the current cyber threat onslaught just as difficult to deal with," ThreatTrack president and CEO Julian Waits, Sr., said in a statement.