Virginia-based information technology and cybersecurity company ManTech has its work cut out for it as it works to secure war fighters’ eyes in the sky.
The company received a five-year, $322 million IT and cybersecurity contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency last year, and ever since the company has been working “24/7 monitoring the secure environment within the classified systems,” said Damian DiPippa, senior vice president and general manager of ManTech’s Mission, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions group.
NGA provides intelligence on geospatial imagery and mapping information, which is used by the U.S. military for planning and response for national disasters, combat, terrorist attacks and other events. But those assets are being threatened by cyberattacks as nation-states and non-nation actors attempt to disrupt or intercept that information.
DiPippa said ManTech provided NGA with an entire cybersecurity system, which was established on top of their existing cybersecurity environment, and operates the maintenance of that system.
“At the end of the day, NGA’s consumers, these warfighters, these decision makers, these first responders, are getting the information they need in a timely manner” he said. “The threat continues to evolve, so the NGA, like every other agency … has to continue to evolve.”
The NGA confirmed in a press release that ManTech was awarded a $322 million, five-year contract “to operate and maintain the NGA enterprise and cybersecurity environment.” That contract began last August, and the first year’s contract amount totaled $65.6 million.
ManTech’s cybersecurity system works to keep the intelligence community updated, and to keep outside threats from penetrating the cybersecurity network, DiPippa said.
A secondary part of their contract provides NGA with a simulated cyber environment that the NGA can use to test their ability to respond to cyberattacks. That real-world training — without the risks — helps boost emergency preparedness, he said.
The simulation can emulate past attacks, he said. For example, it can simulate the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected global networks in May.
By being able to find the holes in their security protocols before a threat emerges, or being able to find where human error could compromise a cyberattack response, NGA personnel will be able to more easily secure their information assets.
“With this, we’re able to build a real world representation and do it much faster than other contractors ... and we can flood that network with realistic traffic, both good and bad,” DiPippa said. “This way we can evaluate a team or a network security posture. We can do live training, actually simulate and emulate real world malware. We can actually inject those in a realistic manner.”