Lockheed Martin’s newly appointed CEO Marillyn Hewson is a strong supporter of the company’s cybersecurity division, an area in which colleagues say she will continue to focus efforts once taking the reins in January.
Executives within Lockheed’s cybersecurity division touted Hewson’s prior engagements with their sector and her focus on educating the workforce about the increasing number of threats against company networks and suppliers.
“She gets it,” said Chandra McMahon, Lockheed’s vice president and chief information security officer, during a Nov. 12 event in Washington. “She understands the threats that not only we face but also our supply chain faces and the rest of the defense industrial base.”
McMahon said she has discussed Lockheed’s cybersecurity efforts and plans to grow the market with Hewson.
“She is and has been out in front of some of the education and awareness programs that we’ve had, personally putting her voice … about the importance of cybersecurity, what we need to be doing from a business perspective and what our employees need to do in terms of managing emails and other things within the cooperation.”
Darrell Durst, Lockheed’s vice president of cyber solutions, described Hewson as “highly motivated.”
“I think relative to what it is that we’ve been attempting to do from a strategy and tactical perspective, I think that she is going to be fully supportive of what we’re doing and actually I would like to think that she’s going to actually energize it even more,” he said.
Lockheed announced last week that it ousted CEO-in waiting Christopher Kubasik, the firm’s president and COO, following an investigation that revealed his “close personal relationship” with a subordinate employee.
Hewson has been the executive vice president of Lockheed’s Electronic Systems division, and was slated to become president and COO in January. She will now take over as CEO on Jan. 1.
Charlie Croom, Lockheed’s vice president of cybersecurity solutions, said the company takes ethics very seriously.
“It’s a tough time, but we’ve got a strong bench of leadership,” he said. “Marillyn is going to do a great job. We know her. She’s got great experience. She’s been trained to move up and you won’t see a hiccup at all in terms of our performance.”
Company officials said during a briefing that campaigns against Lockheed’s networks have been on the rise, with more attacks focusing on suppliers’ systems.
“We’ve seen them be very successful against a number of suppliers,” McMahon said. “We’ve also extended some of our initiatives to look at focusing on our supply chain and working at trying to help them improve their cyber resilience.”
As for Lockheed’s own networks, McMahon said the company is defending itself “better than many other companies.”
A frequent method of attack is through email. The tactic, call phishing, attempts to trick the recipient into clicking on a link within an email. Most times, the email is masked to make the recipient believe it is from someone they know.
Companywide, Lockheed Martin email accounts receive between 5 million and 7 million messages per day. Of those, only 500,000 to 1 million are actually delivered to users’ inboxes.
Within that set, there might only be a handful of potential attacks, McMahon said.
“Our tools and systems are really designed to look for the needle in a needle stack,” she said. “That’s the kind of level of sophistication that our email filtering and analytics provide us.”