Russian government-backed hackers have been stealing “sensitive” information from American weapons companies for several years, a recent announcement by US security agencies has claimed.
The purported cyber attacks are said to date back at least two years, RF.com reports.
The FBI, National Security Agency, and US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a report on Wednesday alleging that since at least January 2020, the hackers have been collecting information that is unclassified but contains “significant insight into US weapons platforms development and deployment timelines.”
The attacks apparently hit contractors working for all the branches of the military, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Space Force, as well as companies working for US intelligence programs. The firms that were targeted include ones involved in aircraft design and the development of combat and weapons systems.
“By acquiring proprietary internal documents and email communications, adversaries may be able to adjust their own military plans and priorities, hasten technological development efforts, inform foreign policymakers of US intentions, and target potential sources for recruitment,” the report states.
On Wednesday, John Reed, Democratic Senator from Rhode Island and chair of the Armed Services Committee, told CNN, “Both the United States and Russia are continually probing, through cyber, to pick up information on weapons systems, on intelligence, etc.”
“The compromise of intelligence information is [on] both sides,” he went on, adding that the US is prepared to use cyber operations to assist Ukraine, where American leaders have been warning Russia could be planning an invasion, an accusation that Moscow has strenuously denied.
Russian officials have not yet commented on the hacking allegations, but in the past have insisted that requests for evidence that Moscow is involved in stealing secrets through cyber attacks have gone unanswered.