Chinese state-sponsored hackers have stolen a massive trove of sensitive information from a US Navy contractor, according to the Washington Post.
The data includes secretive US plans to develop a new kind of supersonic anti-ship missile launched by submarines and other ‘massive amounts of highly sensitive data related to undersea warfare’, the report confirms. The breaches, according to the Post’s sources, occurred in January and February this year.
Specifically, a contractor who works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center was targeted wherein a massive 614 gigabytes of material related to a project titled Sea Dragon, along with sensory data, submarine radio room information relate to cryptographic systems as well as the Navy submarine development unit’s electronic warfare library.
Headquartered in Newport, Rhode Island, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center is a military organization that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry. The data, obviously highly sensitive in nature, was housed on the contractor’s unclassified network.
The Navy is leading a forensic cybersecurity investigation into the breach with the assistance of the FBI.
Navy spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said of the report:
There are measures in place that require companies to notify the government when a ‘cyber incident’ has occurred that has actual or potential adverse effects on their networks that contain controlled unclassified information.
In total, details of hundreds of software and mechanical systems were compromised in what is surely a massively critical area of warfare prioritized by China, both for challenging the United States and building its own capabilities.
Former senator and current US-China Economic and Security Review Commission member James M. Talent called the incident “disturbing.”
“But it’s of a piece with what the Chinese have been doing. They are completely focused on getting advanced weapons technology through all kinds of means,” he said. “That includes stealing secrets from our defense contractors.”
Image credit: NavyLive.