ULA’s chief executive, Tory Bruno, publicly announced espionage activity at the Air Force Association’s Air Space Cyber Conference by a Chinese firm to supply software programs to ULA’s rocket manufacturing facility. Bruno revealed this activity in a recorded video to Gen. David Thompson, vice commander of the U.S. Space Force.
Thompson reported that China is known for infiltrating the U.S. systems and stealing their intellectual property to remain relevant in advancing technology. Thompson questioned Bruno to explain what they are working on at ULA to prevent the infiltration of their systems by China.
Bruno stated that the Chinese company in question was a ULA supplier for equipment needed in developing the Vulcan Centaur rocket. He added that they were lucky enough to identify the Chinese company’s data extradition and put barricades on the systems in question.
The Chinese company dealt with KUKA Robotics, which was partnering with ULA, although the project had not interacted with ULA’s valuable assets. ULA explained that they would be severing ties with KUKA products to avoid infestation with Chinese spy programs. Bruno submitted that they are engineering their systems and those they designed for their customers to prevent unauthorized access.
The U.S. is keen to enforce cybersecurity measures on the projects and contracts they enter with China to prevent intellectual property theft. Bruno stated that China has decided to go old school and not only infiltrate the U.S.’s intellectual brilliance but also its supply lines. Bruno admitted that they are shifting gears to become independent developers of rockets and use their tools and software.
Bruno revealed that the Chinese firms trying to infiltrate the U.S. intellectual property are affiliates in the software development contracts. He added that they had shared their details with the investigative agencies for further apprehension.
ULA has tightened cybersecurity measures by asking all its dealers to do background research on the companies they contract with to prevent espionage activities. He added that if any supplier is not ready to upgrade and follow these regulations, they would have to substitute them and cut off their ties to their valuable data and assets.
Finally, Chinese companies’ continued treatment as espionage companies will sever trade ties with the U.S. China must maintain its ground on playing their technological role in the contracts they enter with developed countries to avoid problems.