The Chinese hacking plot seems to get deeper by the day.
In a classified report, the defence Science Board — a panel of civilian experts who advise the Pentagon — lists a slew of weapons sytems supposedly compromised by Chinese hackers. The hackers got a hold of system designs and technologies, reports Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post.
Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the defence Science Board.
Some of the more disturbing systems that China compromised include cutting edge jets, missile systems, and electronic warfare technology (which is used, for example, to disable enemy missile defence systems).
Terminal High Altitude Area defence (THAAD Missile defence)
Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (Patriot missile defence system)
AMRAAM (AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile)
Global Hawk (high altitude surveillance drone)
PII (email addresses, SSN, credit card numbers, passwords, etc.)
“That’s staggering,” Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank that focuses on Asia security issues, told the Washington Post. “These are all very critical weapons systems, critical to our national security. When I hear this in totality, it’s breathtaking.”
Evidently part of the big haul was schematics for small parts needed to set up manufacturing for these weapons systems.
China apparently uses several different means to gain access to these defence Systems, most of them utilising what Information Security experts call “human engineering” — when manipulative emails or clever online con-men actually get victims to divulge information on their own.
[One more convincing tactic is executed] by creating innocuous-looking companies and research institutes that reach out to US companies, researchers and universities under the guise of civilian cooperation, only to steal their technology and experts for use by the PLA.
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