Chinese hackers apparently compromised the designs of some of the US’s most sensitive weapons systems, including vital information about the nation’s missile defenses, according to a report released on Tuesday.
The Washington Post revealed the breach, citing a report prepared for the Pentagon by the Defense Science Board, which groups both government officials and private sector experts.
The document, titled “Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat,” shows a grim picture of cyber-espionage by China just 10 days before President Obama is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time.
The report doesn’t accuse China’s government of stealing the designs. However, intrusions like the one against the United States could help the country enhance its armed forces.
Compromised designs include advanced Patriot missile systems, drone video systems, the F/A 18 fighter jet, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship, and several others.
The report by the US coincides with one from Australia that claims Chinese hackers accessed designs for the country’s new top secret headquarters of its intelligence service.
This isn’t the first time Chinese hackers have been accused of illegally accessing US information. American officials have publicly complained about Chinese cyber-espionage. Obama also vowed in his State of the Union Address to take action to protect the US government and American companies from attacks like the one reported recently.
While the DSB’s report did not accuse the Chinese of stealing the top secret designs, a US official told ABC News that Chinese hackers gathered the information after they accessed the the networks of private defense companies that do business with the Pentagon.
Pentagon spokesman George Little addressed the report on Tuesday, explaining that the Defense Department still maintains “full confidence” in the country’s weapons system. Little added, “Suggestions that cyber intrusions have somehow led to the erosion of our capabilities or technological edge are incorrect.”
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