Network security experts from across the U.S. government told a U.S. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tuesday that federal networks have been thoroughly penetrated by foreign spies, and that current perimeter-based defenses that attempt to curb intrusions are outdated and futile.
"We've got the wrong mental model here," Dr. James S. Peery, director of the Information Systems Analysis Center at Sandia National Laboratories, testified. "I don't think that we would think that we could keep spies out of our country. And I think we've got this model for cyber that says, 'We're going to develop a system where we're not attacked.' I think we have to go to a model where we assume that the adversary is in our networks. It's on our machines, and we've got to operate anyway. We have to protect the data anyway."
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