It happened again: Thanks to Web vulnerabilities, hackers were able to hit the Pentagon. 

According to CCN (,

Thousands of confidential files on the U.S. military’s most technologically advanced fighter aircraft have been compromised by unknown computer hackers over the past two years, according to senior defense officials.

The Internet intruders were able to gain access to data related to the design and electronics systems of the Joint Strike Fighter through computers of Pentagon contractors in charge of designing and building the aircraft, according to the officials, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

In addition to files relating to the aircraft, hackers gained entry into the Air Force’s air traffic control systems, according to the officials. Once they got in, the Internet hackers were able to see such information as the locations of U.S. military aircraft in flight.

This news is quite relevant to my Fall 2009 Web Vulnerability graduate course (

BTW. Associate Director of the CS Department at, also a colleague and friend, Dr. Alfredo Cruz, called me two days ago with some great news: The department has been accredited for 2009-2014 as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. Soon they will be listed with members of this exclusive “club” in the National Securing Agency web site (

An official press release and formal presentation before the pertinent authorities is being coordinated for within the next few weeks or so.

The next issue of IR Watch – The Newsletter provides additional coverage of such an exciting news.

I have tied these two news in a single post to underscore the need for IR/data mining courses at the intersection of Information Security, which is precisely the mission statement of IRW, reaching now more than 300 investigators/research centers.