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Chinese Hackers Penetrate U.S. Defense And Weapons Systems

F-35 fighter cyber attack

image courtesy of U.S. Navy

Chinese hackers compromised critical United States weapons systems files, proving once again how vulnerable the nation is to cyber attack. While the liberal elite continue to poke fun at the off-grid and prepping communities’ self-reliant mindset, the frailness of our national security becomes even more clear. Both the power grid and our water supply remain woefully unprotected, and now details about the very weapons designed to protect the country are in the hands of potential enemies.

The computer hackers from China reportedly compromised multiple ballistic missile defense systems, and aircraft and combat files. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Black Hawk helicopter, and the Patriot missile system were among the files hacked. The lengthy list offered to the Pentagon by the Defense Science Board was part of a cyber security report.

Some security and weapons experts who viewed the report call the list of files compromised by Chinese hackers, “staggering.” The Washington Post obtained a copy of the confidential Pentagon report. Security experts who offered comment to the paper stated that the files hacked contained “very critical weapons systems.” The Defense Science Board issued a public version of the report about the Chinese hackers in January, but the security breach remained unknown until late May.

The Patriot missile system, also known as the PAC-3, is an Army system used for shooting down ballistic missiles. Information about weapons used to destroy ballistic missiles may very well now be in the hands of the North Korean government. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is likely the most expensive weapons system ever built – the final price tag will be approximately $1.4 trillion once completed.

Project 2049 Institute Executive Director Mark Stokes had this to say about the Chinese hackers and the weapons systems incident:

“That’s staggering. These are all very critical weapons systems, critical to our national security. When I hear this in totality, it’s breathtaking.”

If earlier statements about the Chinese hackers are accurate, North Korea sent computer experts to join in the endeavor. As many as several hundred citizens from North Korea are thought to be have been hired to assist the Chinese hackers in their cyber attacks on United States companies and infrastructure systems.

North Korea may not be able to hit the American mainland with a missile just yet, but many technology and security experts feel the Communist nation is becoming a “hacking super power.” Iran, another small country with a lot of hatred for the American way of life, is thought to be sponsoring hackers to target US energy firms. While neither one of the two enemies could defeat the United States in conventional warfare, they could cause millions of fatalities by engaging in state-sponsored espionage to bring down the power grid. Dismissing the threats posed by North Korea could become a fatal error on the part of the federal government.

A shutdown of the power grid would render our powerful military impotent as soon as fuel stores run dry. The economy would tank quickly after an international cyber terrorism attack. The bloodless technological battle would bring our great nation to its knees. The Defense Science Board report did not state whether or not US government computer networks were impacted or compromised by the hacking attempt.

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Some of the weapons information hacked comprised the “backbone” of the Pentagon’s regional missile defense system for Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Asia. The United States should not continue in the role of the world’s policeman, but we still do not want details about our weapons systems leaked.

Although Pentagon officials have largely remained mum about the Chinese hackers, a Department of Defense representative did say the agency 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 US businesses like those in the Defense Industrial Base.”

National security concerns about cyber hackers are not new worries, yet the federal government has failed to upgrade department computer systems and essential infrastructure against such threats. The weapons systems intrusion enhanced China’s compilation of advanced warfare technology. Many military experts have long believed that the theft of F-35 Fighter designs by China helped Beijing create its own version of the weapon much more quickly. Should the United States become embroiled in an armed conflict with China or one of its allies, those countries would now have an edge both on the battlefield and in the skies.

Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight Director Winslow Wheeler had this to say about the Chinese hackers:

“If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it. If they’ve got into the basic algorithms for the missiles and how they behave, somebody better get out a clean piece of paper and start to design it all over again.”

The Obama administration is far too busy attempting to thwart the Benghazi, IRS, and AP/James Rosen scandals to pay the appropriate amount of attention to national security. The border remains unsecure, which allows terrorists to simply walk into the country undetected.  The student visa program has run amok, offering ample opportunity for young terrorists to venture into our cities with virtually no oversight.

Lax protection of the power grid operating system makes that vital piece of infrastructure an easy target for cyber terrorism. There is little-to-no security surrounding water plants in America, further eroding citizen safety. By the time EPA officials determine that a chemical agent had been poured into the water, thousands of people would already be ill – or dying.

The accomplishments of the Chinese hackers highlight yet another avenue where the goals of terrorists could readily be achieved. These national security deficiencies should be making headlines on all major news networks, but they are not. Protecting the safety of the country should be an issue where bi-partisan support is a given, but sadly it is not. Far too many lawmakers have buried their heads in the sand about the very real threats America faces on a daily basis. Citizens who choose to ignore the matter as well will be left with a confused look on their face when the lights go out, the water is no longer safe to drink, and the funds in their bank accounts disappear.

Do you feel that national security should be taken far more seriously by the Obama administration?

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