Digital Risks and Digital Defenders: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT)

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently disclosed that its computers had been hacked. This very prominent technology name follows on so many other companies that it almost seems like just another victim. However, the United States’ infrastructure goes well beyond just electric wires and power plants, it includes all things digital, too. If Microsoft can’t protect itself is there any company that can?

China hackers

President Obama recently stepped up and called for the United States to protect itself against cyber attacks. Add to this a report tracing recent attacks back to a Chinese military building, and everyone should be thinking about just how bad a cyber attack could be.

The big concern has been this country’s infrastructure. Certainly it is important to protect such things as telephone communication, air traffic control, and the electric grid. If any of these were to collapse under an attack our country would quickly grind to a halt.

The technology infrastructure

However, look past the basic infrastructure and things could be just as bad. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has its hands in so many facets of the world today that it is as vital as electric power. Really? Yes! The vast majority of personal computers today run on Microsoft’s operating systems, new or old. Its Office software suite is a core business tool that almost every company, big and small, uses.

Imagine if the hacking attack was not, in fact, corporate espionage, but a military episode. If a foreign attacker could identify a way to cripple the Microsoft operating system or Microsoft Office, it would send shock waves around the world.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Apple Inc. is another company who’s systems have been attacked recently. While Apple’s influence probably isn’t as wide spread as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s, it clearly has a notable footprint in the mobile world with its iPhone, iTouch, and iPad devices. That’s a frightening thought if you imagine a scenario where a foreign attacker takes down the Apple mobile operating system.

The idea here is bigger than someone trying to steal some personal information from your phone. Imagine that every iPhone just stops working. Many would find they had lost the ability to function because so much of their lives has been stored in that one device.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)

Facebook Inc also saw itself hacked recently. This company isn’t as vital to the operation of devices as Microsoft or Apple, so the only thing at risk would be personal information. Right? Maybe not. Sure, if Facebook’s service went down there would be millions upon millions of people that would feel the impact. However, their lives wouldn’t stop.