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Israel's 'Iron Dome' contractors reportedly hacked by China

Three of the defense contractors who built Israel's "Iron Dome," a shield that protects Israel from missiles, have been hacked by China, according to cybersecurity firm Cyber Engineering Services, Inc. (CyberESI).

Krebs on Security reports that "huge quantities" of documents about the Iron Dome's technology were stolen, and more than 700 files in all were compromised. The attacks are reported to have occurred between October 2011 and August 2012, but they had not been publicized prior to this week.

The hackers, who are allegedly members of the China-based "Comment Crew," got into the networks of Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. According to Krebs on Security, "most of the information was intellectual property pertaining to Arrow III missiles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), ballistic rockets, and other technical documents in the same fields of study." The technology used in these documents was created by Boeing, among other contractors, for U.S. weapons.

The Iron Dome "has intercepted about a fifth of more than 2,000 rockets militants have fired at Israel during the current conflict," Reuters reports, so the consequences of leaked information about the dome's security could be dire.

"The Chinese have been doing that to all defense contractors in the West, so if this really happened, we are not alone," Uzi Rubin, former head of missile defense at Israel's Defense Ministry, told Reuters. "If the Chinese really did it, maybe we shall see a Chinese 'Iron Dome' in the future."