The US government and all its military branches are naturally a prime target for cyber attacks, but exactly how bad is the situation? Those numbers aren’t thrown around loosely, but Hewlett Packard on Wednesday inadvertently released some statistics for the US Navy’s IT network, and they don’t look pretty.

“For the US Navy we provide the network for 800,000 men and woman in 2,000 locations around the world, protecting them against 110,000 cyber attacks every hour,” Mike Nefkens, the head of enterprise services at HP, told V3 at the company’s Discover event in Frankfurt. “This means the attacks average out at about 1,833 per minute or 30 every second.”

Those figures are simply astonishing. Extrapolating the other way, it means the US Navy is attacked some 96.36 billion times every year. If the last century was about world wars, this one is definitely all about cyber wars.

HP has this data because it has been managing the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) contract, and its transition to a Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN). The $3.3 billion deal was signed back in October 2010.

Just two months ago, the FBI declared it has started working 24/7 to investigate hackers and network attacks. The US government has shown expertise in the field of Computer Science, but it has also made some glaring mistakes.

Yet it’s not just governments that are being targeted by an increasing number of cyber attacks. Poor security practices are something that has the potential to affect everyone on the Internet, from the individual, to a small business, to an enterprise, to a government. Nobody is safe: not the public sector and not the private sector.

See also – Hacking attempts will pass one billion in Q4 2012, claims information assurance firm and The US government is hacking Android phones and sending them to the troops

Image credit: Bern Altman