The threat has reached such a pitch that Barack Obama, the US president, has made it a policy priority. McAfee, the IT security specialist, estimates that 8,000 variants of malicious software are created every day, double the rate seen last year.
Market estimates of how much the US plans to spend in this area vary widely, though the highest predicts it could reach $55bn in the next six years.
Lockheed has been increasing its research and development spending to deal with the threat.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is a tremendous burden on the defender,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are thinking about how to deal with unknown things: how do you defend against the unknown threat, how do you go from reactive to predictive?Ã¢â‚¬Â
New systems will need to rely on artificial intelligence to seek out automatically the most subtle changes in data patterns and Ã¢â‚¬Å“take the human out of the loopÃ¢â‚¬Â.
In the US, Lockheed is also involved in what it calls cyber security Ã¢â‚¬Å“offenceÃ¢â‚¬Â, an important area, as state actors such as China and Russia develop advanced cyber warfare techniques Ã¢â‚¬â€œ though the company is unable to talk about its classified work.
A new version of a computer intrusion detection system being developed by the United States Department of Homeland Security has raised concerns from advocacy groups over privacy and the involvement of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the development of the software. The new system, known as Einstein 3, can reportedly read email as well as its original function, to detect malicious software.
Einstein 3 will also be able to read e-mail and other internet traffic.
However, Don Adams, Chief Security Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Worldwide, Public Sector, said that the project is unlikely to be derailed because of privacy concerns.
He told FutureGov: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Einstein 3 is absolutely necessary to the defence of the US Government. It will move the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) for cyber warfare to the major private sector internet carriers where traffic is shaped and delivered to government sites.Ã¢â‚¬Â
With Einstein 3, the approach will actively shut down attacks it detects, as a result of the Tutelage software provided by the NSA.