US Weapon Designs Stolen By Chinese Hackers – Report

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

China blamed for stealing some seriously sensitive information

More than 24 major weapons designs belonging to the US were pilfered by Chinese hackers, including ones deemed critical to America’s defensive and offensive operations, according to a report.

A confidential report for Pentagon, produced by the Defense Science Board, indicated machines containing information on US missile defenses, combat aircraft and ships were breached.

Police cyber security - Shutterstock - © Amy WaltersChinese hackers hitting US hard

Senior military and industry officials with knowledge of the breaches said the Chinese were to blame, according to the Washington Post.

The designs cover various parts of the US military’s arsenal, including missile defence systems, fighter jets and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, believed to be the most expensive weapons system ever created.

China says it has not carried out any cyber espionage campaigns on the US. It is widely believed the US hacks into Chinese government agencies and businesses.

Meanwhile, a separate report has claimed Chinese hackers attacked Australian government departments and companies. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, plans for a new Australian intelligence centre in Canberra were stolen from a contractor, amongst other data.

There was no clear proof the Chinese government sponsored those attacks, ABC noted.

This month has seen fingers pointed at China repeatedly over cyber attack claims. Chinese hackers known as Unit 61398 allegedly sponsored by the government were said to have restarted a major campaign hunting for information from US businesses.

For the first time, the Pentagon directly blamed China for attacks on US infrastructure, collecting intelligence on US diplomatic, economic and defence industries.

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