The DoD detected an intrusion into it’s classified networks. The following information about the attack is excerpted from the October 1, 2010 article from DoD News, “Lynn: Cyberwarfare Extends Scope of Conflict”:
Information technology, and the world’s reliance on it, has redefined the front lines of national security, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City yesterday.
The department was always aware of the threats posed by hackers, nation states or terror groups in the cyberworld, but DOD experienced a wake-up call in 2008 when an intrusion into military networks extended to the classified realm.
‘Up to that point, we did not think our classified networks could be penetrated,’ Lynn said.
The compromise, he said, occurred when someone in the Middle East used a thumb drive to transfer data from the unclassified network to the classified network. The department launched Operation Buckshot Yankee to repair the breach and spent a lot of time, energy and money to remedy the situation. The attack led to a new approach to cyber security in the Pentagon, Lynn said.
The bottom line, he said, is that cyber is a new domain of warfare, like land, sea, air and space. The new domain needs policies, doctrine, planning, resources and strategy like the other domains, Lynn said, noting this is one reason why the department stood up U.S. Cyber Command in May.
On August 18, 2017, at the direction of the President, the Department of Defense initiated the process to elevate U.S. Cyber Command to a unified combatant command.