(Aegis BMD scenario pictured above from the Missile Defense Agency).
According to a government report, Chinese hackers successfully stole designs for some of our most used military hardware, this includes the mainstay FA-18 fighter jet and the BlackHawk helicopter. But that is not all, they also got away with designs for several missile systems including the Navy’s Aegis Balistic Missile Defense (BMD) system.
The report stated that the designs for more than two dozen military systems were stolen.
These included the:
- UH-60 BlackHawk
- F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
- FA-18 Hornet
- V-22 Osprey
- Patriot Missile Defense System
- Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Anti-Ballistic Missile system
- Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System
In essence the Chinese have stolen billions (if not Trillions) of dollars worth of weapon research and design. Worse yet, they now know the capabilities of many of our offensive and defensive weapons.
But with all the buzz on securing our military systems, how could the Chinese infiltrate classified systems and pilfer some of our greatest secrets? According to former Navy Admiral Jamie Barnett during a Fox News interview, our military systems are hardened pretty good, and were not the source of the data leak.
The data was stolen from military contractors and subcontractors.
Since the US has been working on hardening our military systems, Chinese hackers have modified their tactics and have switched to attacking military contractors. And even though these contractors have fairly good physical security, the Chinese were still able to extract military hardware designs.
So what do we do now?
Whatever changes that have been made to harden military systems need to include military contractors, or any organizations that are trusted with classified military plans. Most likely communication, encryption and codes will need to be changed so hardware in the field can not be compromised.
Our missile defense systems will need to be analyzed to determined what China could have gained by having the designs and capabilities will need to be modified so they are not made obsolete.
Counter hacking has been brought up many times in the past. Would it be feasible to counter hack to recover or destroy stolen data? Or create honeypots, legit looking sites that contain bogus but tantalizing information, that contain malware or backdoors that could infect attacking systems allowing us to connect back into them or other capabilities.
Finally, there needs to be some sort of political repercussions against China. We have already handed them our manufacturing capabilities over the last few decades, they now have many of our military secrets. The cyber bleeding needs to stop.