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Arms Producers Turning to 'Cybersecurity': Report

Report from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows world's biggest arms-producing companies ducking austerity by taking advantage of "potential cyberthreats"

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

There is "a clear trend" among the world's top arms producers of expansion into cybersecurity, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) stated in a report released Monday.

Photo: Charles Atkeison The report also notes that the sales of the top 100 arms-producing companies, $410 billion in 2011, have decreased by 5 per cent since 2010, due in part to austerity and the military drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But "arms producing and military services companies have been taking steps to insulate themselves against austerity measures," stated SIPRI arms industry expert Dr. Susan Jackson. "Companies are implementing strategies that accommodate the changes in threat perception since September 2001 while trying to maintain their bottom lines. We see this in the types of acquisitions being made and in the sectors companies are targeting."

Vincent Boulanin, SIPRI cybersecurity expert, adds, "Cybersecurity has become a top national security issue and there has been a lot of discussion about that over the last years," the Associated Press reports. "Countries are willing to gear up to face potential cyberthreats from other countries or private actors.”

U.S. companies top the arms sales charts, with 44 U.S.-based arms producers making up 60 per cent of the total arms sales of SIPRI's Top 100.

U.S. based Lockheed Martin tops the list, with over $36billion in arms sales in 2011.

See SIPRI's top 100 for 2011 here.