Designs and technology for two new Chinese bomber drones that bear a striking resemblance to a cutting-edge U.S. military attack drone reportedly were stolen by Chinese cyber spies.
According to a report in Asia Times
, a video that popped up on a Chinese military blog this month showed a missile-firing drone in action that looked almost identical to the U.S. military combat drone, the MQ-9 Reaper.
On Dec. 1, another Chinese website, the social media outlet Tencent News, published a report on Chinese drones that included another attack drone that also resembled the Reaper, Asia Times reports.
Drones aren't Beijing's only cyber-hacking target, the newspaper reports; other aircraft compromises have involved the B-2 bomber, the F-22 jet, and the frontline F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Asia Times reports the hack of advanced radar and engine designs of the F-35 are believed to have been through a non-U.S. subcontractor — and those features are now part of a new stealth fighter jet being developed in China.
According to Asia Times, details of pervasive Chinese military cyber theft were first revealed in classified documents made public by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
In its cyber spying, the Chinese were able to exploit Facebook to penetrate target computers and fool users into responding to emails linked to a post, the newspaper reports. The spies were then able to implant malicious software that gave them access to user accounts and ultimately to defense secrets, the newspaper reports.
Asia Times reports Chinese cyber spies would also use "hop points" — a computer taken over and used as a staging area for a cyber attack — and that many were in the United States as an attempt to hide the Chinese origin of the spies.
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