Tags: weapons | designs | chinese | hackers | us

WaPost: U.S. Advanced Weapons Designs Stolen by Chinese Hackers

Image: WaPost: U.S. Advanced Weapons Designs Stolen by Chinese Hackers The building housing “Unit 61398” of China's People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai. Cyberattacks that stole information from over 100 targets in the U.S. and other countries have allegedly been traced to the Chinese military unit in the building.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 06:08 AM

By Greg Richter

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Chinese hackers have stolen some of America's most sensitive weapons designs — a dangerous development that could endanger soldiers in a conflict with China, The Washington Post reports.

A confidential report prepared for the Pentagon by the Defense Science Board does not accuse the Chinese government, but senior officials told the Post that the breaches were part of a growing espionage effort that targets defense contractors.

Many of the larger contractors have put up effective security, so the hackers have gone after subcontractors instead.

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“In many cases, they don’t know they’ve been hacked until the FBI comes knocking on their door,” a senior military official told the Post. “This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China. They’ve just saved themselves 25 years of research and development. It’s nuts.”

The cybertheft gives China an edge that it could exploit during a conflict, it accelerates China's military technology while saving it billions of dollars in research costs and the American designs can be used to benefit China's own defense industry.

The report's public version says that such cyber-attacks could cause "severe consequences for U.S. forces engaged in combat," including cutting communications links that could make weapons fail to operate correctly. Planes, satellites and drones might crash, the report said.

"If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it," said Winslow T. Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight. "If they’ve got into the basic algorithms for the missile and how they behave, somebody better get out a clean piece of paper and start to design all over again."

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