HUNTSVILLE, Ala, (WHNT) – Chinese hackers had unfettered access to government contractor codes, data, and systems, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The story claims that the hackers stole several terabytes, equal to hundreds of millions of pages, of documents and data on weapons programs. The report said the hackers stole an administrative password from QinetiQ’s internal network, using it to mine top-secret data from virtually every corner of the company.
How the Chinese computer spies got through remains uncertain, but Bloomberg said what is clear is that QinetiQ security officials ignored or brushed off numerous warnings that their system was potentially compromised. The investigation also revealed that the Chinese hackers may have gotten a back-door entrance into Redstone Arsenal through a network the base shares with Qinetiq.
“Cyberspace intrusion and hacking requires us to aggressively monitor Team Redstone networks, while taking appropriate procedures to address threats,” Dan O’Boyle, Redstone Arsenal spokesman said.
“We aggressively monitor our information grid, and have appropriate procedures in place. We actively develop and implement defensive measures and capabilities to protect and defend our networks so our vital information systems remain secure to support ongoing Operations. We have been conducting normal operations, and have not been impacted by malicious software. Cyber Security is one of AMCOM’s Command Priorities, and we always take the appropriate measures to protect our networks. As a matter of operational security, we do not discuss the specifics of those measures.”
A QinetiQ security official who was contacted by WHNT News 19 on Thursday declined to comment on the case, saying he was not authorized to speak on it. Officials at QinetiQ’s U.S. corporate headquarters in Virginia were not available for comment.
Ironically, the Bloomberg report also said QinetiQ won a $4.7 million cyber security contract from the U.S. Transportation Department in May 2012, years after the hacking of their network began.