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In a concerted attack, hackers gained access to systems at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan's top defense contractor and maker of various weapons systems such as the Patriot missile defense system (pictured).  (Source: Mail UK)

As with other recent attacks, the Chinese government is suspected of being behind the concerted effort to steal military and economic secrets.  (Source: Army Recognition)
Attackers target missile, ship-building, and submarine facilities

A major investigation by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (TYO:7011) and the Japanese federal government has revealed an alarming infiltration of systems at the company's critical defense facilities.  Eight different computer viruses were found in 80 infected systems, including trojans and keyloggers.

Among the infected systems, some resided at the company's Tokyo headquarters.  Others infected systems were housed at the Kobe Shipyard, which currently builds submarines and makes components to build nuclear power stations; the Nagasaki Shipyard, which currently makes escort ships; and the Nagoya plant which reportedly carries out classified manufacturing of guided missiles and rocket engines.

Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun was the first to report on the breach.

A spokeperson for the company issued a reassuring comment to American news agency Reuters stating, "We've found out that some system information such as IP addresses have been leaked and that's creepy enough. We can't rule out small possibilities of further information leakage but so far crucial data about our products or technologies have been kept safe."

The company is Japan's largest defense contractor.  Between March 2010 and March 2011 it won 215 deals worth 260B yen ($3.4B USD) from Japan's Ministry of Defense.  The company is a licensed manufacturer of many iconic weapons designs -- for example it licenses the rights to build MIM-104 Patriot missile and AIM-7 Sparrow from Raytheon Comp. (RTN).  

The company also has deep ties to American aerospace and defense firms.  For example, it's been contracted to build the wings for The Boeing Comp.'s (BA) mammoth new 787 Dreamliner jet.

Andrew Davies, a cyber-warfare analyst with the government backed defense think-tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in an interview with Reuters called Japan an attractive target and inferred they may simply have missed past attacks.

"It's probably just the first that hacking attacks in Japan have been detected. It's consistent with what we've seen already with big American defense companies," he remarks, "The Japanese make large conventional submarines that are among the world's most sophisticated ... (they) have very nicely integrated solutions with their own mechanical, electronic and control systems, so it a pretty attractive hacking proposition, to get the design of a Japanese submarine."

The attacks follow a major intrusion at U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), which involved attackers using stolen materials from RSA Security to compromise the supposedly ultra-secure time-based RSA authentication system and gain VPN access to company servers and mount an attack.

Also of note is a recent report by Intel Corp. (INTC) subsidiary McAfee who claims that between 2006 and 2011 a "national actor" was involved in a massive cyberattack, which compromised many nations, international organizations, and defense contractors.  

The elephant in the closet in both cases was the clear indications pointing to the Chinese government.  Many defense experts suggest that it's painfully obvious China -- which is looking to gain defensive and economic advantages via hacking -- is behind these attacks.  However, given its extensive manufacturing and research facilities in China, perhaps, Intel's subsidiary refused to comment on which nation it believed the attacks to originate from.

Thus far Mitsubishi and the Japanese government, both deeply dependent on Chinese manufacturing, have declined to comment on speculation regarding the origins of the sophisticated and persistent attacks.

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It wasn't china
By Joz on 9/19/2011 7:39:49 PM , Rating: 3
It was dolphins and wales.

RE: It wasn't china
By jnemesh on 9/19/2011 7:59:47 PM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure Wales had nothing to do with it! Otherwise Price Charles would have said something!

RE: It wasn't china
By ekv on 9/20/2011 3:32:34 AM , Rating: 2
Wales had nothing to do with it! Otherwise Price
The price of wales? Sure, why not, I'll give ya a Pound or so. 8)

RE: It wasn't china
By Jeffk464 on 9/19/2011 9:10:57 PM , Rating: 5
Looks like China got bored of hacking US systems.

RE: It wasn't china
By AnnihilatorX on 9/20/2011 4:51:38 AM , Rating: 1
Well to be fair

Eight different computer viruses were found in 80 infected systems, including trojans and keylogger

I've had trojans and keyloggers on my personal computer before, so I've been hacked by the Chinese?

RE: It wasn't china
By FaaR on 9/20/2011 6:47:55 AM , Rating: 2
They've already stolen everything you've got over there.

RE: It wasn't china
By kfonda on 9/19/2011 9:30:51 PM , Rating: 2
I have photographic evidence proving that it was cows and chickens.

RE: It wasn't china
By Ammohunt on 9/19/2011 10:28:53 PM , Rating: 4
The rumor I heard was that it was Moose and Squirrel.

RE: It wasn't china
By DPigs on 9/20/2011 12:02:34 PM , Rating: 2
Hey! Canada had nothing to do with it!!

RE: It wasn't china
By ShaolinSoccer on 9/20/2011 10:25:31 AM , Rating: 1
All jokes aside, China has more reasons to be pissed off at Japan than any other country in the world for the crap that was done to them in the past...

RE: It wasn't china
By ClownPuncher on 9/20/2011 2:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
Totally. I'm still mad at the Saxons for what they did to England. Still pissed at the rift crated between the Latin church and the Byzantine Empire.

RE: It wasn't china
By AnnihilatorX on 9/20/2011 4:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
You don't get it. It takes 3 generation for these grudges to go away. It doesn't help when Japan is not like Germany which admit what they did and moved on. Events like the Nanjing Massacreis not even recognized in some Japanese history textbooks.

How would it be if Generman history books makes no mention of the Holocaust and some people denying that it existed is not branded as crazy. If you say Holocaust is a faux in Germany you'd get arrested. I saw it on TV even some Professors in Japan said Nanjian Massacre did not exist. De he get fired? no.

RE: It wasn't china
By ClownPuncher on 9/20/2011 7:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you don't blame me for Dresden, I wasn't there.

RE: It wasn't china
By Ammohunt on 9/20/2011 9:37:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah and those F'n Romans enslaving Germainia those guys need to go die in a fire.

By MADAOO7 on 9/20/2011 1:10:46 AM , Rating: 4
Anyone find it slightly ironic that the Chinese uniforms say "China Army" on them in English? I guess if you are going to use our technology, might as well use our language.

RE: Uniforms
By tng on 9/20/2011 8:02:10 AM , Rating: 1
Anyone find it slightly ironic that the Chinese uniforms say "China Army" on them in English?
No I found it ironic that they got the spelling right, could have said "China Almy"

RE: Uniforms
By HrilL on 9/20/2011 1:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Thats just how they say it.

RE: Uniforms
By narmer9 on 9/20/2011 8:05:02 AM , Rating: 4
They were fighting under the command of the United Nations. Hence the English and the blue caps with the UN logo.

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