Maggie: The designs for dozens of U.S. weapons, like the Patriot missile system, the F/A-18 fighter jet and the Black Hawk helicopter are now said to be in the hands of the Chinese government. That is according to a confidential report put together by the Defense Science Board, a group of government and civilian experts.
The report calls the hacks a “staggering loss,” which are happening just as the U.S. military is stocking up its weaponry in the Pacific region.
David Martin: They are all part of the so-called Pacific pivot which is a strategic plan by the Obama administration to turn the weight of the U.S. military away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and toward the Pacific.
Maggie: And in the Pacific, China is the main competitor.
Experts say this recent hacking activity would give Chinese intelligence the ability to study U.S. defense systems and come up with ways to counter these weapons should they ever be used against them. The new information might also give China access to advanced technology which could help speed up the development of their own weapons systems.
Australia may have also been the victim of cyberattacks. According to an ABC News report, Chinese hackers stole floorplans for the new headquarters of the Australia Security Intelligence Organisation, the country’s domestic spy agency.
In fact, China has been accused of being behind cyberattacks worldwide. In February, the U.S. Defense Department warned that Chinese hackers had been targeting news organizations, federal agencies and large private companies, like the New York Times and Twitter.
Now, the White House is ramping up its warnings to China, urging the Chinese government to stop cyber theft, publically recognize the problem and commit to a crackdown on hackers operating in China.
The Chinese insist they aren’t behind the hacks. They argue it is actually the United States carrying out cyberattacks against them.
The Defense Science Board warns that the U.S. is not prepared to counter a full-scale cyber war. But the Defense Department is said to be working closely with experts to toughen up computer security. And President Obama is expected to bring up the alleged Chinese hacking when he meets with the Chinese president next month.
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
- How do U.S. experts believe the Chinese government accessed information about U.S. weapons?
- What kinds of steps would you take to secure U.S. military secrets from thefts like these?