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Chinese hackers crack U.S. military contractors

Chinese hackers crack U.S. military contractors
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

In a disturbing report, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee says that Chinese hackers broke into the systems of U.S. military contractors 20 times in one year. The figures come from the FBI, Department of Defense and U.S. Transportation Command.

The contractors - which haven't been named - are associated with the U.S. Transportation Command. TRANSCOM and its various agencies are responsible for transportation logistics in war zones.

Among the investigation's findings was a Chinese military intrusion in 2010 of a Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) contractor in which "documents, flight details, credentials and passwords for encrypted email were stolen."

The report said the CRAF is made up of contractors who do little business with the US military during peace time, but may be called upon to rapidly deploy military assets during times of crisis.

Loss of data at CRAF contractors could potentially compromise US operational readiness, the report said.

The other big worry is that a breach at a contractor could give hackers the information they need to breach other government data systems.

Of course, China denies any involvement in hacks on the U.S. government and companies.

A China Foreign Ministry spokesman called the report "groundless."

"We urge America to stop criticizing China irresponsibly," the spokesman said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This is just a string in a long line of cyberincidents between China and the U.S. that include the U.S. bringing charges against Chinese hackers and China snagging information on government employees.

Hackers don't just work for governments. Most of them are freelancers after your money and information. Here's everything I've written on how hackers operate and how you can stay safe.

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