Data on the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter aircraft that was recently reported as being illegally accessed by foreign cyberspies has been available for more than four years on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, the CEO of a software vendor said at a legislative hearing today.
The Wall Street Journal last month reported that hackers -- possibly based in China -- had broken into U.S. Department of Defense computers and downloaded terabytes of data containing design information about the $300 billion stealth fighter currently under development.
But Robert Boback, CEO of Tiversa Inc., a Cranberry Township, Pa.-based P2P monitoring services provider, said the company discovered the data on a file-sharing peer-to-peer network in January 2005 and reported it to the Defense Department and other federal authorities at that time.
The Defense Department could not immediately be reached for comment.
Boback was testifying at a hearing held today by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce headed by U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to discuss two new bills, one of which relates to P2P file sharing.
According to a company spokesman, the data on the Joint Strike Fighter was leaked from computers belonging to a defense contractor. At that point, the data was "not seen in China" but was disclosed from computers located in the state of Georgia and another computer in Ireland, the spokesman said via e-mail.
It was not immediately clear whether the data that was being referenced at the hearing today was the same data that the Journal reported as being stolen. According to the Journal, the compromised files were related to the design of the Joint Strike Fighter and its electronics systems and could be used to help defend against the jet. However, no sensitive files were compromised in the DOD break-in, according to the Journal.