When it comes to some of the most sensational cyberattacks
against the U.S., security researchers have often pointed to Chinese hackers as suspects. China has repeatedly denied
such charges, but a new report by The Washington Post
suggests that Chinese hackers have accessed weapon system designs by targeting U.S. defense contractors.
Because the list of systems is confidential, not all of them have been publicly identified, but The Washington Post
listed certain systems, including the Patriot missile system, the Black Hawk helicopter, and the F-35 Joint Strike warplane. One of the most disturbing revelations of the report is that the weapons systems compromised are meant to defend U.S. interests in many countries across Asia and Europe. Of course, access to the designs also stokes fears that China will be able to accelerate the modernization of its military technology.
The list of compromised system designs is part of a private report to the Pentagon; a public version of the report has already been released. The report itself doesn’t blame the breach on Chinese hackers and the Chinese government generally dismisses reports of it being the source of cyberattacks and blames
the U.S. military for attacks.