European aerospace giant Airbus has been hit by a series of state sponsored attacks, targeting its suppliers.
In the last 12 months, Airbus has been hit by four major attacks. In January, the company had announced that it suffered a cyber-attack, which resulted in unauthorised access to data, however the attack appeared to be part of a much larger operation.
The UK engine-maker Rolls-Royce and French Technology consultancy and supplier Expleo, were also targeted by hackers, as well as two other unnamed French Airbus suppliers.
An anonymous source revealed to AFP, that Expleo’s company systems had been compromised long before it was discovered at the end of last year, commenting: “It was very sophisticated and targeted the VPN which connected the company to Airbus.”
VPNs are utilised by companies to enable third-party suppliers remote access to their systems, as well as being used to protect users privacy online.
Sources have claimed that the attacks against Airbus’ suppliers were conducted in an attempt to obtain technical documentation relating to the certification process for various parts of the Airbus aircraft. Furthermore, some of the stolen documents were related to the A400M military transport plane.
It is suspected that Chinese hackers are the threat actors behind the attacks, due to their track record of stealing sensitive company data. The notorious state-sponsored hacking group APT10 and the Chinese hacker group JSSD, could potentially be behind the attacks, however there has been no evidence to link the groups the attacks.
Jake Olcott, VP of government affairs at BitSight commented: “Our national security is at risk and it’s well past time to address this challenge with leadership and resources.
“The entire defense supply chain has been under attack for years, and it’s not just the small companies that are vulnerable. Defense agencies must gain visibility immediately. We can’t afford to wait.”
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