As the U.S. continues to rely on technology to store vital information, it has experienced a significant rise in cybercrime that officials feel could put the nation at risk. Recently, confidential reports stated that Chinese cyber spies had stolen U.S. weapons system designs, which could potentially allow them to penetrate American allies' missile defenses, The Washington Post reported.
According to USA Today, the compromised weapons include the advanced Patriot missile system and the Navy's Aegis ballistic missile defense system, among others.
Sources say senior Pentagon officials feel their defense contractors are largely to blame, as they handle this type of sensitive data and, in recent years, have allowed some of it to fall into the hands of cyber criminals.
"In many cases, they don't know they've been hacked until the FBI comes knocking on their door," an anonymous senior military official told the Post. "This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China. They've just saved themselves 25 years of research and development. It's nuts."
The U.S. is currently struggling to find enough cyber security experts to effectively manage this type of sensitive information. Citing data from Burning Glass International, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the demand for cyber security professionals is growing 12 times faster than the overall job market. Between 2007 and 2012 alone, the demand for experts in this field grew 73%.