ASSALTO CHINÊS ARRASA PENTÁGONO
Um desastre total! Como revela o Washington Post, Pequim roubou tudo o que havia para roubar de segredos nos mais secretos recantos do Pentágono. As unidades militares chinesas de hackers assaltaram, nos últimos anos, o Pentágono como nunca acontecera e ficaram na posse dos planos das armas mais secretas dos EUA: todo o programa do F-35, o caça de nova geração e o mais caro da história, mas também a nova versão do F-18 Super Hornet, o helicóptero UH-60, o transporte híbrido V-22 Osprey (a meio caminho entre o avião e o héli), os futuros navios de defesa de costa da US Navy, uns revolucionários trimarans, as tecnologias e planos de defesa anti-míssil (Patriot e Aegis), os radares mais avançados… enfim, todos os sitemas de armas vitais, resultado de décadas de investimento em pesquisa e desenvolvimento e nque constituem o coração da supremacia americana. Para além do acesso às tecnologias, este roubo significa também que Pequim pode sabotar os sistemas de armas americanos ou, dito de outro modo, “so just like in the movie Independence Day, in theory Chinese hackers could use electronic warfare to give F-35 weapons systems a cold, make them sick, and essentially inoperable… Attacks would be expected to include denial of service, data corruption, supply chain corruption, traitorous insiders, kinetic and related non-kinetic attacks at all altitudes from underwater to space. U.S. guns, missiles, and bombs may not fire, or may be directed against our own troops”. Um desastre total que durou uma década: “entre 1999 e 2009, as portas estiveram abertas para a espionagem chinesa”.
In plain English: F-35s can be hacked. The Washington Post recently got its hands on a classified part of a Pentagon report which outlined how Chinese hackers had compromised more than two dozen “critical” weapons systems — including the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. So just like in the movie Independence Day, in theory Chinese hackers could use electronic warfare to give F-35 weapons systems a cold, make them sick, and essentially inoperable.
Now that China has the schematics to the most expensive weapons system in human history, it’s fairly certain they’ll try to devise ways to hack that system in order to counter it.
From The Christian Science Monitor:
Software can make up perhaps one-third of the value of weapons systems like the Patriot missile and other system, he notes. Software for other systems on the list may now need an overhaul in order to ensure their integrity, said James Lewis, a senior fellow and cybersecurity expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“If they got into the software code and left something behind, we’ve got a serious problem,” he says. “How do we know? We don’t. So the answer is that we have to redo the system to be sure it isn’t compromised,” said Lewis.
What this means for the U.S. is a potentially critical vulnerability to hackers down to the level of individual weapons. As the Defense Science Board warned in January:
Should the United States find itself in a full-scale conflict with a peer adversary, attacks would be expected to include denial of service, data corruption, supply chain corruption, traitorous insiders, kinetic and related non-kinetic attacks at all altitudes from underwater to space. U.S. guns, missiles, and bombs may not fire, or may be directed against our own troops.
How China would achieve this is exactly how the U.S. planned to achieve it if intervention in Syria became a reality — from USA Today:
Electronic methods to disable enemy air defense systems include the injection of malware, a form of computer software, into the air defense network through a computer attack or by traditional electronic warfare aircraft capable of jamming radar.
So just like in the movie Independence Day, in theory Chinese hackers could use electronic warfare to give F-35 weapons systems a cold, make them sick, and essentially inoperable.
Le Point.fr – Publié le 29/05/2013 à 07:10 – Modifié le 29/05/2013 à 09:54
Pékin aurait volé les plans militaires américains les plus secrets, y compris celui du nouveau chasseur F-35. Pour Washington, le désastre est total.
Le prototype du chasseur F-35B Lightning II, le jour de son premier vol, le 22 mai 2012. © Lockheed Martin Le Washington Post est formel : des hackers chinois ont volé ces dernières années au Pentagone les plans des armes les plus secrètes des États-Unis. Parmi les dossiers ciblés, on trouve le programme F-35 du chasseur de nouvelle génération, le plus cher de l’histoire du Pentagone (réévalué à 1 400 milliards de dollars, selon le Post), ainsi que du F-18 modernisé (Super Hornet), l’hélicoptère UH-60 (le célèbre Faucon noir, ou Black Hawk), le transport hybride V-22 Osprey, à mi-chemin entre l’avion et l’hélicoptère, ou encore les futurs navires de défense littorale de l’US Navy, des trimarans révolutionnaires. Les technologies de protection contre les missiles ont aussi été visées, puisque les plans du système de défense antimissile Patriot ainsi que de son pendant maritime l’Aegis ont été volés, et avec eux les secrets des radars les plus perfectionnés du monde. Pour les États-Unis, le désastre est total : ces systèmes d’armes vitaux constituent le coeur de leur suprématie, résultat de décennies d’investissements dans la recherche.
Le rapport du Defense Science Board, un organisme de conseil au gouvernement regroupant des experts de la société civile et de l’administration, n’accuse pas explicitement la Chine. Mais les experts du Pentagone interrogés par la presse américaine évoquent une vaste campagne d’espionnage de l’industrie militaire américaine. Pékin aurait pour objectif de combler son retard au plus vite en s’inspirant des plans stockés au Pentagone, qui ont longtemps été laissés sans protection efficace contre l’espionnage. “Cela signifie que l’armée américaine est moins efficace et que l’armée chinoise est plus efficace”, a expliqué James Lewis, expert en cybersécurité au Center for Strategic and International Studies, sous réserve que les informations soient exactes. Selon lui, la prise de conscience du danger représenté par le piratage informatique est récente à la tête de la Défense américaine : “Entre 1999 et 2009, les portes étaient ouvertes pour l’espionnage chinois”, a-t-il jugé.
Les industriels américains “confiants”
Lockheed Martin, qui mène notamment le programme F-35, a indiqué avoir effectué “des investissements significatifs concernant sa sécurité informatique” et affirme logiquement rester “confiante dans l’intégrité” de ses systèmes. Des informations sur le futur chasseur multirôle avaient déjà été déclarées dérobées en 2007 par le Wall Street Journal, mais pas à cette échelle.
Pékin, de son côté, se défend toujours vigoureusement d’avoir mis sur pied toute opération d’espionnage. Quoi qu’il en soit, dans ce pays où les programmes d’armement voient leurs délais réduits plutôt qu’allongés, il ne faudra pas attendre longtemps pour voir si les prochains avions de chasse (de sixième génération) sont des copies du F-35… À moins que, comme l’avait probablement fait la France lorsque les plans du Concorde avaient été volés par la Russie, Washington n’ait glissé certaines informations erronées dans les fichiers pour tromper son vrai-faux ennemi. Les présidents américain et chinois, Barack Obama et Xi Jinping, doivent se rencontrer dans une semaine en Californie. Nul doute que ces révélations dans la presse, dont la Maison-Blanche connaissait déjà le contenu depuis des mois, voire des années, vont pimenter les choses.
Par Guerric Poncet
Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry. Experts warn that the electronic intrusions gave China access to advanced technology that could accelerate the development of its weapons systems and weaken the U.S. military advantage in a future conflict.
Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.
A list of the compromised U.S. weapons designs and technologiesThe systems named in a report by the Defense Science Board includes some critical to U.S. missile defense.
The Defense Science Board, a senior advisory group made up of government and civilian experts, did not accuse the Chinese of stealing the designs. But senior military and industry officials with knowledge of the breaches said the vast majority were part of a widening Chinese campaign of espionage against U.S. defense contractors and government agencies.
The significance and extent of the targets help explain why the Obama administration has escalated its warnings to the Chinese government to stop what Washington sees as rampant cybertheft.
In January, the advisory panel warned in the public version of its report that the Pentagon is unprepared to counter a full-scale cyber-conflict. The list of compromised weapons designs is contained in a confidential version, and it was provided to The Washington Post.
Some of the weapons form the backbone of the Pentagon’s regional missile defense for Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf. The designs included those for the advanced Patriot missile system, known as PAC-3; an Army system for shooting down ballistic missiles, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD; and the Navy’s Aegis ballistic-missile defense system.
Also identified in the report are vital combat aircraft and ships, including the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship, which is designed to patrol waters close to shore.
Also on the list is the most expensive weapons system ever built — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is on track to cost about $1.4 trillion. The 2007 hack of that project was reported previously.
China, which is pursuing a comprehensive long-term strategy to modernize its military, is investing in ways to overcome the U.S. military advantage — and cyber-espionage is seen as a key tool in that effort, the Pentagon noted this month in a report to Congress on China. For the first time, the Pentagon specifically named the Chinese government and military as the culprit behind intrusions into government and other computer systems.
As the threat from Chinese cyber-espionage has grown, the administration has become more public with its concerns. In a speech in March, Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser to President Obama, urged China to control its cyber-activity. In its public criticism, the administration has avoided identifying the specific targets of hacking.
But U.S. officials said several examples were raised privately with senior Chinese government representatives in a four-hour meeting a year ago. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a closed meeting, said senior U.S. defense and diplomatic officials presented the Chinese with case studies detailing the evidence of major intrusions into U.S. companies, including defense contractors.
In addition, a recent classified National Intelligence Estimate on economic cyber-espionage concluded that China was by far the most active country in stealing intellectual property from U.S. companies.
The Chinese government insists that it does not conduct cyber-espionage on U.S. agencies or companies, and government spokesmen often complain that Beijing is a victim of U.S. cyberattacks.
Obama is expected to raise the issue when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month in California.
A spokesman for the Pentagon declined to discuss the list from the science board’s report. But the spokesman, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said in an e-mail, “The Department of Defense has growing concerns about the global threat to economic and national security from persistent cyber-intrusions aimed at the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and commercial data, which threatens the competitive edge of U.S. businesses like those in the Defense Industrial Base.”
The confidential list of compromised weapons system designs and technologies represents the clearest look at what the Chinese are suspected of targeting. When the list was read to independent defense experts, they said they were shocked by the extent of the cyber-espionage and the potential for compromising U.S. defenses.
“That’s staggering,” said Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank that focuses on Asia security issues. “These are all very critical weapons systems, critical to our national security. When I hear this in totality, it’s breathtaking.”
The experts said the cybertheft creates three major problems. First, access to advanced U.S. designs gives China an immediate operational edge that could be exploited in a conflict. Second, it accelerates China’s acquisition of advanced military technology and saves billions in development costs. And third, the U.S. designs can be used to benefit China’s own defense industry. There are long-standing suspicions that China’s theft of designs for the F-35 fighter allowed Beijing to develop its version much faster.
“You’ve seen significant improvements in Chinese military capabilities through their willingness to spend, their acquisitions of advanced Russian weapons, and from their cyber-espionage campaign,” said James A. Lewis, a cyber-policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Ten years ago, I used to call the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] the world’s largest open-air military museum. I can’t say that now.”
The public version of the science board report noted that such cyber-espionage and cyber-sabotage could impose “severe consequences for U.S. forces engaged in combat.” Those consequences could include severed communication links critical to the operation of U.S. forces. Data corruption could misdirect U.S. operations. Weapons could fail to operate as intended. Planes, satellites or drones could crash, the report said.
In other words, Stokes said, “if they have a better sense of a THAAD design or PAC-3 design, then that increases the potential of their ballistic missiles being able to penetrate our or our allies’ missile defenses.”
Winslow T. Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight, made a similar point. “If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it,” he said. “If they’ve got into the basic algorithms for the missile and how they behave, somebody better get out a clean piece of paper and start to design all over again.”
The list did not describe the extent or timing of the penetrations. Nor did it say whether the theft occurred through the computer networks of the U.S. government, defense contractors or subcontractors.
Privately, U.S. officials say that senior Pentagon officials are frustrated by the scale of cybertheft from defense contractors, who routinely handle sensitive classified data. The officials said concerns have been expressed by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman, as well as Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency.
“In many cases, they don’t know they’ve been hacked until the FBI comes knocking on their door,” said a senior military official who was not authorized to speak on the record. “This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China. They’ve just saved themselves 25 years of research and development. It’s nuts.”
In an attempt to combat the problem, the Pentagon launched a pilot program two years ago to help the defense industry shore up its computer defenses, allowing the companies to use classified threat data from the National Security Agency to screen their networks for malware. The Chinese began to focus on subcontractors, and now the government is in the process of expanding the sharing of threat data to more defense contractors and other industries.
An effort to change defense contracting rules to require companies to secure their networks or risk losing Pentagon business stalled last year. But the 2013 Defense Authorization Act has a provision that requires defense contractors holding classified clearances to report intrusions into their networks and allow access to government investigators to analyze the breach.
The systems on the science board’s list are built by a variety of top defense contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. None of the companies would comment about whether their systems have been breached.
But Northrop Grumman spokesman Randy Belote acknowledged the company “is experiencing greater numbers of attempts to penetrate its computer networks” and said the firm is “vigilant” about protecting its networks.
A Lockheed Martin official said the firm is “spending more time helping deal with attacks on the supply chain” of partners, subcontractors and suppliers than dealing with attacks directly against the company. “For now, our defenses are strong enough to counter the threat, and many attackers know that, so they go after suppliers. But of course they are always trying to develop new ways to attack.”
The Defense Science Board report also listed broad technologies that have been compromised, such as drone video systems, nanotechnology, tactical data links and electronic warfare systems — all areas where the Pentagon and Chinese military are investing heavily.
“Put all that together — the design compromises and the technology theft — and it’s pretty significant,” Stokes said.