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The Washington Post said it has seen a confidential document which claims that hackers associated with China's military obtained access to data on more than two dozen U.S. weapons systems. China could use the information to boost their own weapons development or to find weaknesses in U.S. systems.
The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima broke the story, writing, "Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry. 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 Defense Science Board."
U.S. News & World Report's Steven Nelson noted, "Weapons named in the report included the PAC-3 Patriot missile system, the Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, the Navy's Aegis ballistic-missile defense system, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship."
InformationWeek's Matthew J. Schwartz asked, "What's the risk from the information being stolen? Beyond helping China advance its military capabilities more quickly, the stolen information 'may impose severe consequences for U.S. forces engaged in combat,' according to the publicly released version of the Defense Science Board report, because it might give adversaries an advantage."
In related news, Reuters reported, "In Australia, a news report said hackers linked to China stole the floor plans of a A$630 million headquarters for the Australia Security Intelligence Organization, the country's domestic spy agency. The attack through the computers of a construction contractor exposed not only building layouts, but also the location of communication and computer networks, it said."