Chinese hackers have gained access to designs of more than two dozen major U.S. weapons systems, a U.S. report said on Monday, as Australian media said Chinese hackers had stolen the blueprints for Australia’s new spy headquarters.
Citing a report prepared for the Defense Department by the Defence Science Board, the Washington Post said the compromised U.S. designs included those for combat aircraft and ships, as well as missile defenses vital for Europe, Asia and the Gulf, Reuters reports.
Among the weapons listed in the report were the advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The report did not specify the extent or time of the cyber-thefts or indicate if they involved computer networks of the U.S. government, contractors or subcontractors.
But the espionage would give China knowledge that could be exploited in a conflict, such as the ability to knock out communications and corrupting data, the Post said. It also could speed China’s development of its defense technology.
In a report to Congress this month, the Pentagon said China was using espionage to modernise its military and its hacking was a serious concern. It said the U.S. government had been the target of hacking that appeared to be “attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.”
China dismissed the report as groundless.
China also dismissed as without foundation a February report by the U.S. computer security company Mandiant, which said a secretive Chinese military unit was probably behind a series of hacking attacks targeting the United States that had stolen data from 100 companies.