Study: 3 out of 4 defense contractors changed security practices in light of Snowden leaks

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A poll of U.S. defense contractors revealed how IT management changed organizational practices to prevent an insider breach reminiscent to Edward Snowden's actions.

The study, released Tuesday by ThreatTrack Security, showed that 75 percent of defense contractors aimed to improve their security postures through one of several steps, which included security awareness training (55 percent), evaluating employee data access privileges (52 percent) or being on heightened alert for anomalous network activity by staff (47 percent).

In addition, some respondents said that they evoked stricter hiring practices (41 percent) in the wake of Snowden leaks, while others revealed that even their own IT administrative rights had been restricted to tighten protocols (39 percent).

The survey (PDF) of 100 IT security managers and staff for U.S. defense contractors was conducted by market research firm Opinion Matters from November 2013 to January, on behalf of Clearwater, Fla.-based ThreatTrack.

The study said that a quarter of those polled worked for defense contractors with security budgets of $1 million to $10 million. Twenty-three percent of respondents worked at companies with budgets exceeding $10 million.

"Based on the survey's findings, the Snowden affair has had a profound impact on how defense contractors hire and train employees who handle sensitive information," the study said. "Snowden's leak have caused contractors to restrict IT administrative rights and be more alert to any potential misbehavior by employees regarding data access."

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