….have just copied several terabytes of avionics and design data for the F-35 Lightning II.
WASHINGTON — Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon’s $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project — the Defense Department’s costliest weapons program ever — according to current and former government officials familiar with the attacks.
Similar incidents have also breached the Air Force’s air-traffic-control system in recent months, these people say. In the case of the fighter-jet program, the intruders were able to copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems, officials say, potentially making it easier to defend against the craft.
The latest intrusions provide new evidence that a battle is heating up between the U.S. and potential adversaries over the data networks that tie the world together. The revelations follow a recent Wall Street Journal report that computers used to control the U.S. electrical-distribution system, as well as other infrastructure, have also been infiltrated by spies abroad.
— Siobhan Gorman, August Cole and Yochi Dreazen. “Computer Spies Breach Fighter-Jet Project“, Wall Street Journal, April 21st, 2009.
So let’s see, China has stolen data on every nuclear warhead in the US inventory, the space shuttle, the C-17, and Delta IV medium/heavy-lift booster. But don’t worry, our geopolitical geniuses assure us China doesn’t actually mean us any harm. Because they hold a lot of U.S. dollars. And aren’t at all working to undermine it as the world’s most popular reserve currency.
Might as well send them the dirt on F-22 thrust-vectoring and supercruise now, along with its ISR systems. If they are going to rip off all of our good ideas they may as well make one really kick-ass fighter out of elements from both systems. And then sell it for about one-quarter of JSF’s cost to other “good friends” like Iran and North Korea.
UPDATE: Lockheed says nuh-uh, nobody got their mitts on any secret F-35 goodies.
“We believe the article in Wall Street Journal was incorrect in its representation of successful cyber attacks on the F-35 program,” Lockheed spokeswoman Cheryl Amerine said in an e-mail. “To our knowledge there has never been any classified information breach. Like the government, we have attacks on our systems continually and have stringent measures in place to both detect and stop attacks.”
— Edmond Lococo and Tony Capaccio. “Lockheed Says F-35 Security Hasn’t Been Breached“, Bloomberg.com, April 21st, 2009.
Image: PLAAF propaganda, 1964. Text reads “It doesn’t matter whether enemy airlpanes come in broad daylight, or the dark of night, from high or from low, all must be destroyed!” Source: Stefan Landsberger’s Chinese Propaganda Poster pages.