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Nov 13

At Aviation Week & Space Technology:

[There] is China’s intense and apparently effective campaign of cyber-espionage against Western industries and governments.

The degree to which China’s [aviation] progress has been aided by cyber-espionage is not easy to determine, but that is not surprising. What is known euphemistically as the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)—a pattern of sophisticated and continuously evolving penetration attempts aimed at computer networks, predominantly originating in China—was not identified in the West until 2006, and Chinese aircraft and weapons that have been disclosed in any detail mostly date from before that.

Details of newer products, such as the low-observable systems—materials, edge treatments, door and aperture design and electronic apertures—on the J-20 and J-31, and the J-10B’s active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, will be a more telling indicator of the value of the APT.

What is certain, however, is that cyber-espionage is potentially the most valuable addition to spycraft since the advent of signals intelligence. The intake can include large volumes of detailed technical information that can be disseminated with relative freedom to end-users—people designing and engineering systems. The relative freedom comes from the fact that no agents are at risk and the techniques and software used for network penetration are not designed for a long life: The presumption is that they will be detected, countered and replaced with something new.

In fact, there is no fundamental reason why a defense engineering organization should not have its own network-penetration unit or engage a contractor for the mission, so that project managers can actually ask for the specific data that they want. And some benefits of this kind of intelligence may be invisible: As well as knowing how another team solved a problem, it is useful to know when and how your rivals hit a dead end…


Chinese People’s Liberation Army Update, Air Force and Navy Sections

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

One Response to “Mark Collins - The Dragon’s Kites and Cyber Espionage”

  1. MarkOttawa Says:

    Guess who’s building the F-35:

    “US defence firm Lockheed Martin warns on cyber-attacks

    US defence firm Lockheed Martin says it has seen the number and sophistication of international cyber-attacks increase dramatically in recent months.

    According to the firm, 20% of threats directed at it are now considered “advanced and persistent”.

    The news come as US officials step up their warnings about cyber-attacks on US institutions.

    Lockheed Martin declined to say where any of the attacks had originated…

    One of the biggest issues for the firm is hackers targeting its suppliers…

    In May 2011, it emerged that Lockheed Martin had come under significant cyber-attack. It happened, in part, because of an earlier attack on RSA, a security firm that supplied the firm with secure ID tokens…”

    Mark Collins

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