Boeing’s Defense unit created a cybersecurity division a few years ago as the company recognized the growing threat to national security and the need to diversify from traditional weaponry with changing defense needs.
Here is a story today about Boeing’s effort to find new recruits for cybersecurity from Bloomberg.
Boeing’s aerospace competitors, including Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, are among those with new cybersecurity units.
This is a growing threat to the US national security, and not just in the Defense Department. Homeland Security, Treasury, the White House and Congress have been targets of cyber attacks. We’ve read about cyber attacks on Amazon, Facebook and Google–and wonder, perhaps, why these have been attacked other than for mischief.
We’ve talked with cyber experts at the four aerospace companies in the course of our reporting for Armed Forces Journal and the response about why Amazon, Facebook, etc., is that these may well be tests by the Bad Guys, probing commercial defenses to learn about them.
A major fear among our aerospace companies is not just our government institutions, but our financial system and the electrical grids. Cyber attacks on the financial systems could bring them crashing down. Attacks on the electrical grids can bring us to a halt. Think of the Northeast blackout a few decades ago, the result of technical failures, on a massive scale across the country.
The aerospace companies told us last year that the US needs 400,000 engineers annually in the various disciplines required for cybersecurity, and we’re graduating only 225,000.
On the other hand, China has formal university courses about how to penetrate cyber security.
The aerospace companies have programs to cooperate with our educational systems down into the Middle School to try and create programs to interest students in choosing courses that end in cybersecurity careers. The companies have to rely on hacker conventions to recruit talent.
Boeing’s drive into cybersecurity was one of the initiatives of Jim Albaugh, who was CEO of the Defense unit until last September, when he took over Boeing Commercial Airplanes.