Sensitive data about Australia's F-35 stealth fighter and P-8 surveillance aircraft programs were stolen when a defense subcontractor was hacked using a tool widely used by Chinese cyber criminals, officials said. The aerospace engineering firm was compromised in July last year but the national cyber security agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), only became aware of the breach in November, technology website ZDNet Australia reported. Some 30GB of "sensitive data" subjected to restricted access under the US government's International Traffic in Arms Regulations rules were stolen, ASD's Mitchell Clarke told a security conference, according to ZDNet.
DJI, the world's largest recreational drone maker, has introduced a so-called local data mode, which will let users fly their devices without any data exchanged with the pilot and the Internet during flights. The new safety mode could stop Internet traffic being accessed to and from its DJI Pilot app, which is designated to provide enhanced data privacy assurances for sensitive government and private corporate customers, DJI said in a statement. The DJI Pilot app is specifically for drones used under professional context. The new update, which could stop sharing information such as flight logs, location, photos and videos to DJI's company servers, came after the US Army in August ordered its member organizations to stop using DJI drones due to security fears.
China has seemingly taken advantage of an American void in exporting drone technology to certain countries and has quickly advanced to develop and export its own arsenal of unmanned aerial systems. What are the geopolitical implications of China becoming the primary alternative supplier of drones to countries both hostile and friendly to the United States? How does this proliferation differ from China simply incorporating its drone technology into its own military doctrine? Will China's drones become the AK-47s of tomorrow?