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11 Feb, 2017 21:22

Pentagon's supplier & Tomahawk missiles manufacturer to protect US power utilities from cyberattacks

One of the world’s top military contractors, Raytheon, has teamed up with another American company that monitors power supply in real time to fight against potential cyber threats to the US power grid in the wake of recent hacking hysteria.

The alliance with the utility software company, Utilidata, is expected to expand Raytheon's presence in the "critical infrastructure" market by delivering "next-generation monitoring, managed security services and cyber-hunting across the cybersecurity market," the company, currently the Pentagon's third-largest supplier, said in a statement.

Announcing their plans to defend America's electric grid against a potential cyberattack, the largest producer of guided missiles in the world has cited an alleged cyberattack on a power grid in Ukraine two years ago as an example of possible threats to the US.

"In December 2015, a cyberattack shut down a large section of the Ukrainian power grid – an incident that the Department of Energy identified in the 2017 installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review as an 'indicator of what is possible,'" the statement said. The incident has been blamed on Russia by Ukrainian authorities.

Despite no major breach of security having been reported at the US power grid, many Americans were on the verge of panic in December last year when the Washington Post published a story claiming that "Russian hackers penetrated US electric grid" through a utility in Vermont.

While the media referred to US officials in their story, the utility company in Vermont later debunked the article, saying the Post had not even contacted them before they wrote it. The initial article was corrected, and a separate report saying Moscow had not been behind the malware activity was published, but fear had already been spread.

Lawmakers and government officials are also constantly mentioning Russia when talking about alleged "aggressive cyber behavior," and "cyber warfare."

Being one of the largest arms producing and military services company, which among other things produces Tomahawk missiles and missile defense systems, Raytheon has made a lot of money on conflicts and tensions in the world. With the value of their stocks having quadrupled since 2001, the military industrial giant reportedly spent $4.7 million on lobbying last year, according to Opensecrets.org.

With its estimated total assets standing at about $30 billion, Raytheon also reportedly spent some $3 million on contributions to political campaigns.

The company's new cybersecurity business "is going to be inevitably quite profitable," former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. "Defense spending is going to continue and go up, whether it's to harden a grid or to build a new generation aircraft... President Trump has already promised that to the military," he said.

"Cyber warfare is very high in the minds of defense experts," he added.