Key point: China has aided its military modernization by stealing and reverse-engineering top-of-the-line military hardware.
A cybersecurity firm reports that Chinese hackers have stolen technical data for the Iron Dome rocket-defense system from Israeli computers.
Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services detected the cyber burglary, according to cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs.
“Between Oct. 10, 2011 and Aug. 13, 2012, attackers thought to be operating out of China hacked into the corporate networks of three top Israeli defense technology companies, including Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems,” Krebs writes.
“By tapping into the secret communications infrastructure set up by the hackers, CyberESI determined that the attackers exfiltrated large amounts of data from the three companies,” he continues.
“Most of the information was intellectual property pertaining to Arrow III missiles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ballistic rockets and other technical documents in the same fields of study.”
CyberESI believes the culprits were the “Comment Crew,” a hacking group sponsored by the Chinese military. Mandiant, a Virgina-based cybersecurity firm, has further identified this group as “the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department’s 3rd Department, which is most commonly known by its Military Unit Cover Designator as Unit 61398.”
Unit 61398 has been so aggressive in stealing American secrets that the U.S. Justice Department indicted four alleged members last May. The FBI wanted poster shows two of the men wearing what appear to be Chinese military uniforms.
In fact, the most recent thefts have victimized America as much as Israel. The Arrow is a joint Israeli-American missile defense system. U.S. defense contractors wrote many of the stolen documents.