Chinese hackers 'steal U.S. navy data on undersea warfare and supersonic missiles'

Chinese hackers 'steal U.S. navy data on undersea warfare and supersonic missiles'

Chinese hackers 'steal U.S. navy data on undersea warfare and supersonic missiles'

What baffles the security experts is the fact that the data was highly sensitive but at the same time was unclassified, leaving space for the hackers to get off with the information.

The hackers targeted the contractor who works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre - a military organisation headquartered in Rhode Island's Newport city - that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry, The Washington Post reported. They obtained plans for, among others, the patriot PAC-3 missile system, the F-35 joint strike fighter, and a system for shooting down ballistic missiles, according to the Post.

The Navy was leading an investigation into the hack with the help of the FBI, the Post reported.

The impact of the hack on USA naval capabilities has been evaluated by the Pentagon's Damage Assessment Management Office, which has refused to comment on its findings, however.

Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment told the Post that submarine technology was a crucial advantage that the US now had against the Chinese Navy.

"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", a Navy spokesman said. The Post said details on hundreds of mechanical and software systems were compromised in the hacking.

Former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), who is a member of the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, called the incident 'very disturbing, ' adding however that reports of the Chinese hacking scheme was nothing new. The officials refused to identify the contractor, and upon the Navy's request, the newspaper also agreed to withhold some details about the hack, citing national security as the reason to do so. "The news comes as the Trump administration is seeking to secure Beijing's support in persuading North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, even as tensions persist between the United States and China over trade and defence matters", The Washington Post said.

According the the Post, the Sea Dragon project is part of the Defense Department's efforts to adapt existing technologies to new applications.

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