The Pentagon spent more than $100 million in the past six months cleaning up after Internet attacks and network issues, military leaders said on Tuesday.
"The important thing is that we recognize 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 petty criminal elements sandwiched in between," Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, head of U.S. Strategic Command, told reporters at a cyberspace conference in Omaha, Neb., as reported by CBS News.
Neither he nor Army Brigadier Gen. John Davis, deputy commander for network operations, would say how much of the estimated $100 million was spent cleaning up from viruses compared with outside attacks and inadvertent security problems due to U.S. Department of Defense employees. However, they did say that spending money to shore up the networks to prevent attacks and breaches would be better than paying to clean up after an incident.
The Defense Department was forced to take up to 1,500 computers offline last year because of a cyberattack, and it banned the use of external removable storage devices because of their ability to spread viruses.
The news comes amid internal government squabbles over which department would be best to manage the nation's cybersecurity programs and in the middle of a cybersecurity review ordered by President Obama.
Last week, legislation was introduced that would create a cybersecurity adviser who reports directly to the president and who would have the authority to disconnect federal or critical infrastructure networks from the Internet if they were deemed to be at risk of attack.