Hackers tried to steal Airbus secrets via contractors

Friday, 27 September 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

PARIS (REUTERS): A series of cyber-attacks on Airbus in the past few months were conducted via the computer systems of its suppliers and contractors and security sources suspect a link to China, AFP news agency reported on Thursday.

Airbus, the world’s second-largest aerospace group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. China has repeatedly denied involvement in hacking and neither the foreign ministry nor China’s official cyber regulator responded to requests for comment on the report. Airbus said last January that a cyber-attack on its systems had resulted in a data breach. Last year US prosecutors said Chinese intelligence officers and hackers stole information about a jet engine being developed by firms who supply Airbus as well as its US rival Boeing.

According to the AFP report, which cited multiple unnamed security sources, cyber-attacks in the past months on Airbus were mounted via French technology consultancy Expleo, engine maker Rolls Royce, and two French Airbus subcontractors which were not identified.

Expleo and Rolls Royce did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Over the past 12 months, Airbus has been targeted by four major cyber-attacks, AFP cited one of the sources as saying. Some of the attacks date back further, the report said. The report cited the sources as saying the hackers appeared to have been seeking information about engines for the A400M military transport aircraft and A350 airliner.

The AFP report did not make clear whether the cyber-attacks it described had led to data breaches or impacted Airbus operations.

It said the security sources have not definitively attributed responsibility for the cyber-attacks, but that they bore the hallmarks of groups linked to Chinese intelligence.