September 26, 2019 / 8:07 AM / 18 days ago

Hackers tried to steal Airbus secrets via contractors: report

PARIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A series of cyberattacks on Airbus in the past few months were conducted via the computer systems of the aerospace group's 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.

The company said in January this year that a cyberattack on its systems had resulted in a data breach. Last year U.S. prosecutors said Chinese intelligence officers and hackers stole information about a jet engine being developed by firms who supply Airbus as well as its U.S. rival Boeing.

According to the AFP report, which cited multiple unnamed security sources, cyberattacks 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.

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 that 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 cyberattacks it described had led to data breaches or impacted Airbus operations.

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

Writing by Christian Lowe Editing by Laurence Frost

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