Apr 21, 2009 WASHINGTON - "Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon's $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project - the Defense Department's costliest weapons program ever - according to current and former government officials familiar with the attacks. Similar incidents have also breached the Air Force's air-traffic-control system in recent months
, these people say. In the case of the fighter-jet program, the intruders were able to copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems
, officials say, potentially making it easier to defend against the craft. The latest intrusions provide new evidence that a battle is heating up between the U.S. and potential adversaries over the data networks that tie the world together. The revelations follow a recent Wall Street Journal report that computers used to control the U.S. electrical-distribution system, as well as other infrastructure, have also been infiltrated by spies abroad... while the spies were able to download sizable amounts of data related to the jet-fighter, they weren't able to access the most sensitive material, which is stored on computers not connected to the Internet. Former U.S. officials say the attacks appear to have originated in China... The intruders entered through vulnerabilities in the networks of two or three contractors
helping to build the high-tech fighter jet, according to people who have been briefed on the matter. Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor on the program, and Northrop Grumman Corp. and BAE Systems PLC also play major roles in its development..."