Chinese J-31 jet designs raise concerns over cybersecurity

By Ryan Maass  |  Sept. 24, 2015 at 9:48 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. cybersecurity experts are raising red flags as a leaked document with specs for China's new J-31 fighter jet made its way across Chinese blogs, bearing a striking resemblance to the U.S.-made F-35 Joint Strike fighter.

Like the F-35, the J-31 features a twin engine, and has similar flight capabilities. However, the F-35 is still fitted for carrying a heavier load of weapons, and features more advanced computer software, according to the leaked document, first reported by Janes. China was suspected of stealing F-35 data in 2009.

U.S. military experts maintain the Pentagon still has an edge over new Chinese developments in military technology, however many in the defense community have pointed out the gap between the two countries has been shrinking.

The two countries are currently bolstering their cybersecurity forces. U.S. Cyber Command, a program started in 2010, hopes to employ 6,200 by 2016, and is eyeing high school students as potential recruits.

China has been under more scrutiny following cyberattacks on American businesses being traced back to the country. The White House considered levying sanctions to punish China earlier in September.

Chinese President Xi Jingping is meeting with President Barack Obama Thursday in Washington, D.C., following a two-day visit to meet with technology companies in Seattle. While there, Xi indicated China's willingness to cooperate with the United States on issues of cybercrime. The two leaders are expected to discuss cybersecurity issues, in addition to other areas of the Sino-American relationship.

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