More on Chinese Stealth Fighter and APT

Since my 27 December post Courtesy of APT, featuring the new Chinese stealth fighter, Aviation Week writer Bill Sweetman wrote more about the development of this aircraft and the support from APT:

One question that may go unanswered for a long time concerns the degree to which cyberespionage has aided the development of the J-20. U.S. defense industry cybersecurity experts have cited 2006—close to the date when the J-20 program would have started—as the point at which they became aware of what was later named the advanced persistent threat (APT), a campaign of cyberintrusion aimed primarily at military and defense industries and characterized by sophisticated infiltration and exfiltration techniques.

Dale Meyerrose, information security vice president for the Harris Corp. and former chief information officer for the director of national intelligence, told an Aviation Week cybersecurity conference in April 2010 that the APT had been little discussed outside the classified realm, up to that point, because “the vast majority of APT attacks are believed to come from a single country.”

Between 2009 and early 2010, Lockheed Martin found that “six to eight companies” among its subcontractors “had been totally compromised—e-mails, their networks, everything,” according to Chief Information Security Officer Anne Mullins.

Note the 2006 date is consistent with my APT history article for Information Security magazine. However, before being officially named "APT" by the US Air Force in 2006, APT was active against cleared defense contractors in 2003, and probably earlier.

Bill makes an interesting point about the availability of photographs of this aircraft:

The way in which the J-20 was unveiled also reflects China’s use and control of information technology to support national interests. The test airfield is located in the city of Chengdu and is not secure, with many public viewing points. Photography is technically forbidden, but reports suggest that patrols have been permitting the use of cell phone cameras. From Dec. 25‑29, these images were placed on Chinese Internet discussion boards, and after an early intervention by censors—which served to draw attention to the activity—they appeared with steadily increasing quality. Substantial international attention was thereby achieved without any official disclosures.

In other words, consistent with their information warfare doctrine, China is presenting this aircraft as a deterrent to Western, and specifically American, interference in their region, through psychological operations.


hogfly said…
I found this quote to be quite interesting, and nice to see someone focused on non-kinetic forms of warfare. Information Supremacy is a guiding principle...

"Dorsett downplays the immediate impact of the new fighter and new anti-ship missile.

“I’m more worried about Chinese game-changing capabilities in nonkinetic [areas such as information dominance, network invasion and electronic warfare],” he says. “I am most concerned about China’s focus on trying to develop [the ability] to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum, to counter space capabilities and to conduct cyberactivities."

Kris said…
sherlock holmes would've liked this deduction
Ron Gula said…
I think it is interesting to note that China is somehow sophisticated enough to hack in and steal plans for stealth planes, but not advanced enough to run its testing programs in secret. I'd like to think China has its own "Area 51" and not have the soldiers guarding the flight post cell phone pictures to discussion board portals.
Ron, like I said in my post, I think the Chinese are sending a message -- the same way shooting down satellites, surfacing subs near US aircraft carriers, and other shows of force create deterrent effects.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for highlighting this. Could you provide a link to the source material you quote from Sweetman?
Sorry, I missed the ref:
bob said…
There has been attacks by China on its neighboring countries also but they were from the purposes of gathering key intel. Of course, India denies it but the fact that this report came out about the same time that the Google China thing happened may be an interesting "coincidence".

Anonymous said…
The Chinese Stealth Fighter says loud and clear. Korea, Japan and Austrailia need to buy the F35. Also some of the Korean , Japanese and Austrailian F35 jets need to be the B VSTOL model that can fly from these nations helicopter assault ships. This to counter the new Chinese Aircraft Carriers. If the F35 is delayed ? Korea and Japan should consider the F15 Silent Eagle since they already operate the F15.

Popular posts from this blog

Five Reasons I Want China Running Its Own Software

Cybersecurity Domains Mind Map

A Brief History of the Internet in Northern Virginia