Chinese hackers have breached the computer systems of multiple contractors that do business with the U.S. military. The hackers weren’t tech experts acting alone, though. According to the results of a one-year probe by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the hackers were with the Chinese government.
The results of the probe were publicly released on Wednesday. Reuters reports that the probe details how computer systems of U.S. airlines, technology companies, and other entities that deal with the movement and logistics of U.S. soldiers and their equipment had their systems hacked.
Chinese hackers got inside the systems at least 20 times in one year, but only two of those breaches were known at the time.
“These peacetime intrusions into the networks of key defense contractors are more evidence of China’s aggressive actions in cyberspace,” Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee’s chairman, said when the report was released.
The committee explained that officials of the U.S. Transportation Command are in charge of moving troops to various points around the globe in times of crisis, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The committee studied the hackers’ actions from June 2012 to June 2013.
During a press conference about the findings of the Chinese hackers, panel chairman Sen. Carl Levin said that nothing short of “the security of our military operations are what is at stake.”
“What we found is very disturbing,” he added.
The Chinese government has refused to comment to the press, but Wednesday’s revelations are far from the first time that hackers from China have infiltrated U.S. systems.
Just this August, Politico reported that patient information of 4.5 million people had been stolen from one of America’s largest hospital chains by Chinese hackers. The patient information included names, social security numbers, and other vital personal information. It was the largest cyber attack in history on a U.S. health care company, Community Health Services.
That attack was carried out by what the company characterized as an “advanced persistent threat” group from China, which used extremely sophisticated and advanced malware and technology. The Chinese government is infamous for its lack of online privacy, even within its own borders. Online police monitor citizen activity on the internet, and China’s “golden shield” prevents a large amount of outside information from reaching people in Mainland China.
Wednesday’s 52-page report on Chinese hackers by the U.S. government found that there were at least 50 attempts at intrusion in a one-year period into military contractor systems.