China sus­pected of steal­ing sen­si­tive data on F-35 stealh planes from Oz

The New Indian Express - - WORLD - AFP

SEN­SI­TIVE data about Aus­tralia’s F-35 stealth fighter and P-8 sur­veil­lance air­craft pro­grammes were stolen when a de­fence sub­con­trac­tor was hacked us­ing a tool widely used by Chi­nese cy­ber crim­i­nals, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The 50-per­son aero­space en­gi­neer­ing firm was com­pro­mised in July last year but the na­tional cy­ber se­cu­rity agency, the Aus­tralian Sig­nals Direc­torate (ASD), only be­came aware of the breach in Novem­ber, tech­nol­ogy web­site ZDNet Aus­tralia re­ported.

Some 30GB of “sen­si­tive data” sub­jected to re­stricted ac­cess un­der the US govern­ment’s In­ter­na­tional Traf­fic in Arms Reg­u­la­tions rules were stolen, ASD’s Mitchell Clarke told a se­cu­rity con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day ac­cord­ing to ZDNet.

The hack­ers used a tool called “China Chop­per” which ac­cord­ing to se­cu­rity ex­perts is widely used by Chi­nese ac­tors, and had gained ac­cess via an in­ter­net-fac­ing server, he said.

De­fence In­dus­try Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne told re­porters in Ade­laide “the in­for­ma­tion they have breached is com­mer­cial”.

“It is not clas­si­fied and it is not dan­ger­ous in terms of the mil­i­tary,” he said.

How­ever, he did not com­ment on who might be be­hind the breach.

Western gov­ern­ments have long ac­cused hack­ers in China of plun­der­ing in­dus­trial, cor­po­rate and mil­i­tary se­crets.

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