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F-35 Lightning II fighter jet  (Source: BAE)
Information regarding the U.S. government's next-generation aircraft was hacked into on numerous occasions

About 11 days after a report indicated foreign cyberspies targeted the U.S. electrical grid, another report has revealed cyberspies successfully attacked the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter project, according to media reports.  Several Joint Strike Fighter aircraft are already flying, with future development costs already factored into the Pentagon's budget in 2009 and 2010.

Intruders were able to copy saved information regarding the design and electronics systems of the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, which could make it easier to defend against its capabilities.  Computer systems used for the project were originally compromised as early as 2007, and have continued to be targeted by intruders.

Whoever was hacking into the system investigated the plane's design, performance statistics, and specific details regarding its electronic systems, according to the official.  It appears computer networks used by contractors can be blamed for the original security breach, sources said.  Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and BAE System are working on the project alongside the US government.

The most sensitive information -- which is stored on computers not connected to the internet -- was not breached by intruders, it was reported.  All information stolen was encrypted during the theft, which has made it nearly impossible for government security experts to see which information was compromised.

The Air Force declined to make a statement to the Wall Street Journal, but an internal investigation was reportedly launched into the matter.  It appears the attacks originated to Chinese IP addresses, investigators said with a "high level of certainty."

The federal government is aware there is a growing cyber threat from organized computer hacking rings, but has been very slow to react to the new threats.  Hackers have targeted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s air traffic control system, along with the U.S. power infrastructure.

Many western nations, including officials in the U.S., blame China for launching organized attacks against numerous targets, though the Chinese government has shrugged off numerous accusations.  The country "opposes and forbids all forms of cyber crimes," according to a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy.



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Dumb Question...
By jskirwin on 4/21/2009 9:08:50 AM , Rating: 2
... but why are Top Secret networks hooked up to the internet? Shouldn't they be completely isolated?




RE: Dumb Question...
By jarman on 4/21/2009 9:10:44 AM , Rating: 3
They aren't. Period. Much ado about nothing... FOUO information at best...


RE: Dumb Question...
By jskirwin on 4/21/2009 9:16:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
(from the WSJ article): The intruders compromised the system responsible for diagnosing a plane's maintenance problems during flight, according to officials familiar with the matter. However, the plane's most vital systems -- such as flight controls and sensors -- are physically isolated from the publicly accessible Internet, they said.


So they got the Top Secret information that was NOT isolated from the Internet, but didn't get the info that WAS isolated... So put everything you don't want spies to get on the isolated network. Problem solved, right?


RE: Dumb Question...
By jarman on 4/21/2009 9:25:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The most sensitive information -- which is stored on computers not connected to the internet -- was not breached by intruders, it was reported...


RE: Dumb Question...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 4/21/2009 9:28:13 AM , Rating: 1
Ditto. All the top secret information is not connected to the internet. Standard practice on all classified projects.


RE: Dumb Question...
By Mojo the Monkey on 4/21/2009 12:27:01 PM , Rating: 4
Or maybe they just say this to save face. It wouldnt be the first time.

"They didnt get our super secret radar jamming thingy."

("Johnson, quick, get to work on a super secret radar jamming thingy!!")


RE: Dumb Question...
By FITCamaro on 4/21/2009 9:35:06 AM , Rating: 1
They didn't get any Top Secret information. They got unclassified data.


RE: Dumb Question...
By DeSade on 4/21/2009 9:34:40 AM , Rating: 2
Like jarman said above, the information that they were able to pull was FOUO (For Official Use Only). It is unclassified, but still not meant to be seen by everybody.


RE: Dumb Question...
By Baov on 4/21/2009 8:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
What does isolated mean? That to get info from it, you got to put it on a floppy and run to a computer with internet access?


RE: Dumb Question...
By bjacobson on 4/22/2009 7:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I doubt they would use a floppy, but yes, similar idea.


RE: Dumb Question...
By FITCamaro on 4/21/2009 9:32:36 AM , Rating: 2
Uh...no.

Nearly all defense contractors have their data on servers connected to the internet. Because sometimes data needs to be accessed remotely over a secure connection or they need to do a data drop to a subcontractor. I'm sure there is certain data that they aren't allowed to have connected but the vast majority of it is.


RE: Dumb Question...
By FITCamaro on 4/21/2009 9:36:11 AM , Rating: 2
Let me clarify that the data defense contractors have connected to the internet is unclassified data but still subject to Export Control laws.


RE: Dumb Question...
By smackababy on 4/21/2009 9:38:53 AM , Rating: 2
None of the contractors I work with are allowed to connect remotely to their computers or data. Granted, I am in a coding shop so there might not be much need, but still.

Also, in order to be given a job concerning data of this nature, you need a Top Secret sercurity clearance. Not much of a chance for people already defected to "the enemy" going to get in.


RE: Dumb Question...
By FITCamaro on 4/21/2009 9:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
We are an F35 contractor here and do not require a clearance (otherwise we're in BIG trouble).

We likely have some of the data that was stolen by the sound of it. Not all data is the same. Some requires clearance, some doesn't. What was stolen does not.


RE: Dumb Question...
By DeSade on 4/21/2009 9:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
Off topic: How are you in big trouble by not requiring a clearance? Or am I just reading that incorrectly?


RE: Dumb Question...
By omnicronx on 4/21/2009 10:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or am I just reading that incorrectly?
Hes saying if clearance was required, his work is not currently operating that way, and thus his work would be in big trouble.


RE: Dumb Question...
By DeSade on 4/21/2009 10:07:03 AM , Rating: 2
Oh ok, thanks omnicronx for clearing that up for me.


RE: Dumb Question...
By Bender 123 on 4/21/2009 10:18:17 AM , Rating: 5
Dr Baltar...Paging Dr Baltar...A blond women is waiting for you by the defense system...


RE: Dumb Question...
By poundsmack on 4/21/2009 1:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
It used to be that the government had a different system. Here is a good video that gives a brief history. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hIQjrMHTv4&hd=1


The Chinese
By bribud on 4/21/2009 9:04:49 AM , Rating: 4
So... who here trusts the Chinese?




RE: The Chinese
By Savatar on 4/21/2009 9:31:36 AM , Rating: 2
This is a strange question to ask considering the article talks about a crime being committed. The individuals involved that commit crime are not to be trusted. Period.

That said, this act is not representative of the Chinese people as a whole, and to say that anyone would no longer 'trust' (or have friends with) anyone who is Chinese would be a strongly biased and unfounded statement. The character or the acts of the few do not represent the character or acts of the many, and vice versa.


RE: The Chinese
By FITCamaro on 4/21/2009 9:34:16 AM , Rating: 1
He clearly means the Chinese government. And given the rampant piracy and a lack of ability to prosecute individuals in China, I would in fact be less trusting of someone from China with any information I deemed to be important for anything.


RE: The Chinese
By Savatar on 4/21/2009 9:36:20 AM , Rating: 1
You would be less trusting of someone merely because they originated from China? Even if they became a citizen of the United States? Some of my best friends are Chinese, and they are US citizens.


RE: The Chinese
By FITCamaro on 4/21/2009 9:50:03 AM , Rating: 3
I mean a current Chinese citizen.


RE: The Chinese
By FITCamaro on 4/21/2009 9:51:13 AM , Rating: 2
Who resides in China.


RE: The Chinese
By psychmike on 4/21/2009 11:42:19 AM , Rating: 3
I'd just like to remind everyone that America used to engage in rampant IP theft much to the frustration of European authors and inventors. Early in its life, the American government passed a law that only American patents had to be recognized. People brought loads of books over from Europe, ripped off the covers, and put on new ones identifying themselves as the author.

Ideas and wealth have ALWAYS and will always flow from richer countries to poorer (or younger) ones.

Kudos to everyone on the forum for not engaging in simplistic racist statements. The actions of governments are not always the actions of its citizens and poor people will do things that seem unsavory to those of us with more choices in life. We all do best when we feel safe and can care for those we love. We all are more likely to do antisocial things when we're scared and hungry.

I'm not excusing or blaming anyone, I'm just pointing out that we as people are not as different from one another as it often appears.


RE: The Chinese
By Nfarce on 4/21/2009 12:16:40 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Kudos to everyone on the forum for not engaging in simplistic racist statements.


1) Chinese espionage is well known in the United States. It's been happening for at least three presidents now, including our current one. There have been several convictions of Chinese Americans.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/washington/10spy...

http://www.informationweek.com/news/global-cio/tre...

2) US Intelligence (and its citizens) have every right to be concerned about espionage as a very real and present threat to national security no matter where it comes from. Would you claim it is "racist" for anyone here raising these same concerns for, oh, I don't know, say Russian espionage?

Claiming "racism" at the drop of a hat every time someone calls something out (and that goes for calling out the Obama administration on things) is juvenile and demeans the true meaning of racism for truly valid race concerns - like not getting hired based on the color of one's skin.


RE: The Chinese
By psychmike on 4/21/2009 12:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you should loosen your tinfoil hat and re-read my post. I said that it's a good thing that people are NOT engaging in racist rhetoric. I never said that it's racist to condemn espionage by a foreign country.

Also, I'm FAIRLY certain that the US has a few robust espionage programs in place. You're not likely to hear about the unsavory things that they do are you?

Sheesh.


RE: The Chinese
By Nfarce on 4/21/2009 2:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
Okay I re-read my post, and I was not directing comments AT you. My mistake was saying would "you" consider it racist to... blah blah. It was more of being directed at the mentality of those who constantly berate others and call them racists when the issue has nothing to do with race and everything to do with actions (or inaction). May apologies if that sounded like an attack on you personally.

quote:
Also, I'm FAIRLY certain that the US has a few robust espionage programs in place. You're not likely to hear about the unsavory things that they do are you?


Well thanks to our media like the New York Times, many of them have already been exposed.


RE: The Chinese
By psychmike on 4/21/2009 6:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
Your apology is humbly accepted. I am sorry, I was harsh too. Politics and race often bring up a lot of issues for people.

It sounds like you're an intelligent person who might have gotten the short end of the stick on some policy issues, but I hope it doesn't encourage you to take an 'us versus them' view of the world.

Regards,
Michael


RE: The Chinese
By psychmike on 4/21/2009 12:58:22 PM , Rating: 2
No, that's what you THINK he means but sloppy phrasing is often a sign of sloppy thinking. Some people may not make the important distinctions that you do.


RE: The Chinese
By bribud on 4/21/2009 1:16:09 PM , Rating: 2
No actually that IS what I meant... their government. Come on, you know as well as I do that their government controls every little thing they do. So by me saying "The Chinese" when speaking of technology espionage, of course I am referring to the REAL people in charge, which is their government. Do you think an innocent citizen could actually get away with what they want? Not with big bully brother always watching over.


RE: The Chinese
By ChugokuOtaku on 4/21/2009 2:19:22 PM , Rating: 1
You'd be surprised by what ppl have been getting away with in China. As long as the government doesn't feel threatened, it's more than happy to let things slide, or as long as they get their cut.

but going along on a tangent, as a Chinese myself, I actually don't have much sympathy for the people being "oppressed" by the current regime. Back track half a century, they had their "election", and they "voted" by siding with the communists and drove the nationalist to taiwan. Even if it was "one man, one vote, one time", they still HAD their vote, and regardless of all the bitching I hear from all these anti-commies/reformists/falungong/pro-democratic/et c, no one wants to face the real question: had the Chinese ppl had better sense back in the day, would they have made the same choice? Maybe it's the people themselves who should realize that as citizens of a nation, they have the responsibility to take part in the government, and stop hoping for a "good emperor".

After all, the government in power, democratic or not, in many ways, is a mirror reflection of its people.


RE: The Chinese
By bribud on 4/21/2009 1:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
Why is that such a strange question? You read the statement in the article, right??

The Air Force declined to make a statement to the Wall Street Journal, but an internal investigation was reportedly launched into the matter. It appears the attacks originated to Chinese IP addresses, investigators said with a "high level of certainty."


RE: The Chinese
By AntiM on 4/21/09, Rating: -1
Hmmm
By webstorm1 on 4/21/2009 9:26:53 AM , Rating: 2
It's hard for me to believe, in this day and age, that everyone responsible for this plane is a complete and utter moron; so the only alternative is that they want this information to be "hacked" so that if countermeasures are developed, the enemy will find - Oops! It doesn't work. A clever ploy, or pathetic information security, you decide!




RE: Hmmm
By superkdogg on 4/21/2009 9:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
I don't believe at all that anything sensitive was actually internet-connected. If anything there may have been some counter-espionage going on trying to get some information on techniques being used to infiltrate. Either that or leaking inaccurate or semi-accurate data to give a false impression about the capability of the craft.

The US government can be sloppy and wasteful, but this level of idiocy is not possible-there are too many people with the chance to say, "That's stupid. Disconnect that PC from the internet."


RE: Hmmm
By omnicronx on 4/21/2009 10:06:05 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Either that or leaking inaccurate or semi-accurate data to give a false impression about the capability of the craft.
I don't understand why they do not do this more often. Unless hackers are tipped off by actual workers, it would be very hard for them to tell the difference, or know what they are looking at is fake.


Proxy in China
By jaybuffet on 4/21/09, Rating: 0
RE: Proxy in China
By omnicronx on 4/21/2009 10:14:06 AM , Rating: 4
Anyone doing this kind of hacking is probably taking this approach already. For all you know they routed to 50 countries around the world before coming back to a Chinese proxy to make us think someone was framing the Chinese. Its not like a Chinese hacker is going to connect directly to a US defense contractors server.

Heck Boris took this approach in GoldenEye 14 years ago, and he was almost INVINCIBLE!, just imagine the skill of the hackers of today ;)


RE: Proxy in China
By Mojo the Monkey on 4/21/2009 12:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
We need to increase our anti-hacker liquid nitrogen capacities then!


Blablabla
By TETRONG on 4/21/2009 12:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
Stop feigning alarm at these articles. Always on DT an article pertaining to this crap.
Seems they want to give this information away.

Read here about Shawn Carpenter under "legal issues"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandia_National_Labor...

This is a L.M. company as well.




By grandpope on 4/21/2009 12:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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