Cyberspies Steal Pentagon's Jet-Fighter Plans

Hackers, possibly Chinese, download specs for Joint Strike Fighter
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2009 5:14 AM CDT
The Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter is unveiled during a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. Hackers believed to be working from China broke into Lockheed Martin's computer systems.   (AP Photo/LM Otero, file)
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(Newser) – Cyberspies believed to be working from China repeatedly penetrated the computers of one of the Pentagon's most important weapons programs, reports the Wall Street Journal. Hackers broke into the system for the Joint Strike Fighter Project—the Defense Department's most expensive program ever at $300 billion—and downloaded several terabytes of information, according to multiple sources. "There's never been anything like it," said one official.

Hackers were able to crack the system by exploiting vulnerabilities in the networks of Pentagon contractors, including aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. While the attacks appeared to originate from China, it's relatively easy for cyberspies to disguise their true location. The Chinese embassy said in a statement that officials opposed cybercrime and that the allegations were "intentionally fabricated to fan up China threat sensation."