Designs to over two dozen U.S weapons systems have been compromised after Chinese hackers gained access to them, according to the Washington Post. The latest incident follows Australian reports that Chinese hackers had stolen the blueprints for Australia's new spy headquarters
Citing a report prepared for the Defense Department by the Defense Science Board, the Washington Post said the compromised U.S. designs included those for combat aircraft and ships, as well as missile defenses vital for Europe, Asia and the Gulf.
The report did not specify the extent or time of the cyber-thefts or indicate if they involved computer networks of the U.S. government, contractors or subcontractors.
But the espionage would give China knowledge that could be exploited in a conflict, such as the ability to knock out communications and corrupting data, the Post said. It also could speed China's development of its defense technology.
The Pentagon said China was using espionage to modernize its military and its hacking was a serious concern. It added in its report to Congress that the U.S. government had been the target of hacking that appeared to be "attributable directly to the Chinese government and military."
China has, meanwhile, rubbished these reports as baseless.