Chinese hackers reach ‘breathtaking’ heights

As a result of Chinese hackers’ latest cyber-attack, designs of over two dozen highly specialized U.S. weapons systems were breached.

Exposed systems include the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or the F/A-18 fighter jet, and missile defense systems, as well as secretive information about drones, satellites and cyber warfare information.

The classified section of a report by the Defense Science Board for the Department of Defense revealed the breach to government officials and the defense industry, and was obtained by the Washington Post.

“Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat” was made public, but didn’t list any concrete breaches. Instead, it mentioned how weak cyber security has been an increasing threat for U.S. defense. The report also didn’t call out Chinese hackers specifically. High-level military and industry officials were the ones to point the blame to a Chinese espionage campaign.

Spokesperson for the Pentagon told the Post about the “growing concerns [of the Department of Defense] about the global threat to economic and national security from persistent cyber-intrusions aimed at the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and commercial data, which threatens the competitive edge of U.S. businesses like those in the Defense Industrial Base.”

The extensive list of compromised information and technical resources surprised even experts on the subject. Military security analysts have described the mass of stolen information as breathtaking.

It’s no secret that the U.S. has been facing a series of attacks from Chinese hackers. The Department of Defense is just the latest victim—others have included The New York Times, Google, and Bloomberg News. The Chinese government vehemently denies any involvement in the security breaches.

“Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages Internet security,” the Chinese Ministry of National Defense told the Times during the last breach. “To accuse the Chinese military of launching cyberattacks without solid proof is unprofessional and baseless.”

Despite the tension, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that President Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping will discuss cyber security at the first US-China summit since Xi became president and since Obama got re-elected. The summit takes place in southern California on June 7 and 8.

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