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Chinese hackers copy US weapon designs

29 May 2013, 13:30 Anne Walters

Washington - Chinese hackers have compromised designs for sensitive US weapons systems, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing a confidential report presented to US Defence Department officials.

The report by the Defence Science Board found electronic intrusions by the Chinese had given hackers from that country access to programmes for US missile defences, aircraft and ships and could bolster Beijing's development of its weapons systems and weaken the US strategic advantage in future, the Post said.

The systems included designs for the Patriot missile system and other components of US missile defences, as well as the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey aircraft, Black Hawk helicopters and a new Navy Littoral Combat Ship.

Earlier this month, the United States publicly pointed the finger directly at China in a report that tied Beijing to cyber attacks against the US government.

"In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military," the Pentagon wrote in an annual report on Chinese military capability.

The report said China was using its capability to "support intelligence collection against the US diplomatic, economic and defence industrial base sectors that support US national defence programmes" and could be used by Beijing to aid its own defence industry.

In February, a US cyber security firm accused a Chinese military unit of being a major hacker of US computer systems. US officials have expressed growing concern about the threat.

China has rejected the charges as "groundless".

The report comes the same day as the Australian government brushed off reports that China had hacked into computer networks to steal the blueprints for new spy headquarters under construction in Canberra.


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