A Chinese entrepreneur ended up arrested for attempting to steal information on the United States’ Lockheed F-22 and F-35 aircraft and Boeing’s C-17 cargo plane.
Su Bin – along with two uncharged Chinese co-conspirators – is facing charges of hacking into Boeing’s corporate network as well as those of defense contractors in the U.S. and Europe, to gain information that would help China “stand easily on the giant’s shoulders.”
Su, who had previously operated Chinese aviation firm Lode Technologies, broke into the Boeing network on January 2010, according to a report in a federal complaint unsealed in Los Angeles. The suspect and his “co-conspirators” are hacked the systems of other U.S. defense contractors between 2009 and 2013 from a location in China, the report said.
The group stole gigabytes of data on 32 U.S. projects, including what investigators believed was 220MB relating to the F-22.
“Emails between SU and (a co-conspirator) in January 2010 contain at least one lengthy C-17 directory file listing that matches in extensive detail the files and folders hosted on Boeing’s computer systems,” FBI special agent Noel Neeman wrote in a court document.
“These facts show that the C-17 data was ex-filtrated directly from Boeing’s computer systems.”
The report found the co-conspirators’ emails said they’d acquired information on the C-17’s landing gear, flight control system and airdrop system.
The report said two uncharged individuals boasted of having “repeatedly skipped around” within the internal network to evade detection using a “prodigious quantity of tools, routes and servers.”
To Boeing’s credit, the attackers apparently said the internal network was harder to crack than they had anticipated and added they’d used proxies in countries not friendly to the U.S.
They also targeted executives at an unnamed U.S. firm and another company involved in weapons control and “electronic warfare systems,” the report said. Intelligence on commercial airplanes was also another target.
Su ended up arrested June 28 by Canadian mounties at the request of the FBI. The complaint revealed his aviation company maintained an office in Canada and said Su and his “co-conspirators” had swiped large amounts of data relating to “dozens of U.S. military projects” which he wrote would allow China “to rapidly catch up with U.S. levels,” the report said.
The China-based co-conspirators performed “network reconnaissance and intrusion operations” and received requests to steal key documents identified by Su, according to the report.
Su attempted to sell off intelligence to state-owned companies in China for personal profit, the report said.
Su will appear in a Vancouver court this month.