High Speed. Low Drag: Attack Efficiencies against U.S. Aerospace Joint Ventures (REPORT)

My team and I have completed a report (High Speed. Low Drag: Attack Efficiencies against U.S. Aerospace Joint Ventures) on how much more vulnerable U.S. companies are to being hacked if they engage in joint ventures in Russia and China. Everyone's first response to that is probably - of course! However, our findings might surprise you.

Key Findings:

An aerospace company that has a joint venture in Russia and/or China is 2.4 times more likely to experience a cyber attack than a non-JV company.

Of the study’s control group of 12 aerospace companies that have joint ventures in China and Russia, 8 experienced a cyber attack (67%), including Alcoa, Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell Collins, Rolls Royce North America and Sikorsky. The other 4 aerospace companies, Eaton, Goodrich, Hamilton Sundstrand, and Parker Aerospace, have not publicly disclosed any cyber attacks.

Of the 21 aerospace companies in the study’s random group, only 6 reported or were claimed to have been the victim of a cyber attack (28%), including General Dynamics, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Raytheon.

U.S. companies engaged in joint ventures represent a profit
center for international hacker groups.

This study shows that it is highly likely that the intellectual property owned by U.S. companies with Russian and Chinese JVs also represent high value targets for a variety of state and non-state actors worldwide.

It's unlikely that the Chinese or Russian government will utilize spear phishing or other low-level attacks against a U.S. company with a joint venture in their respective states when other superior means are available to them. 

While official and non-official sources frequently assign attribution to a state military or foreign intelligence organization rather than a mercenary hacker group, the host governments of joint venture companies do not need to craft spear phishing attacks against U.S. companies who operate within their borders; who are required to employ their citizens who are technically PRC government employees; and whose communications networks are supervised and monitored by the State.