Information security experts say the rash of cyber attacks this year, including a massive security breach at Sony Corp. last month that affected millions of PlayStation users, has emboldened hackers and made them more willing to pursue sensitive information.

In the latest case, Lockheed Martin Corp. has admitted it was the recent target of a "significant and tenacious" cyber attack, although the defence contractor and the Department of Homeland Security insist the hack was thwarted before any critical data was stolen.

But what about next time? With top-secret military programs at stake, staying a step ahead of ever-evolving cyber spies is not just a task for corporate IT departments, it's a matter of national security.

Analysts said the latest attack will likely spur rival defensive contractors like Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co., General Dynamics Corp. and Boeing Co. to take additional steps to safeguard their systems.