Military Contractors Could Benefit as Cyber-Wars Intensify

June 1, 2012 4:28 PM EDT
A New York Times article Friday detailed an account of how the US used cyber-attacks to slow down Iran’s nuclear program. The plan, called operation Olympic Games, was originally authorized under the Bush administration and continued under Obama.

Technology experts got their hands on the malware developed under the program when it escaped from the Iranian nuclear facility where it was hard at work disrupting centrifuges and confounding the Iranians. The malware was later dubbed “Stuxnet”.

The headlines highlight the intense energy and resources the US government -- and governments around the world -- are putting into cyber-warfare. Experts believe future wars are going to cyber-wars, at least in part.

Experts also believe that at some point the US itself will be a victim of a Stuxnet-like attack.

Military contractors working on cyber-warfare products and services include Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), General Dynamics (NYSE: DG), Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), and Raytheon (NYSE: RTN). Military contracts in this area are estimated to be worth $10 billion. It is unknown if any of these companies had a hand in developing Stuxnet.

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