China hacked sensitive US Navy undersea warfare plans

Sergio Conner
June 10, 2018

Hackers working for the Chinese Government breached the computers of a U.S. Navy contractor, stealing massive amounts of data related to submarine warfare. The aforementioned supersonic anti-ship missile was set to be developed by 2020 for use on USA submarines.

The Navy is leading the investigation into the breach with the help of the FBI, officials said.

In a comment to the Post, however, a Navy spokesman said there's a process in place for third parties to notify the government when a breach may have affected controlled unclassified information, but that it would be "inappropriate to discuss further details".

The contractor, which was not named in the report, works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, based in Newport, Rhode Island.

Other information stolen included signal and sensor data for submarines, information relating to cryptographic systems, and a Navy electronic warfare library.

The data itself was stored on an unclassified network, but the officials who talked to the Post said that when all of the data that was stolen was put together the result would be considered classified.

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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.

The hacking operation comes as the Trump administration seeks China's assistance in securing a agreement with North Korea that will see the Hermit Kingdom dismantle its nuclear program.

The US National Security Agency whistleblower, Edward Snowden, said the US government was hacking Chinese mobile phone companies and research institutions. The latter remains secretive: The only information released by the DoD is that it will integrate an existing weapon system with an existing Navy platform.

Military experts said the breach signaled that China could be working to complicate the Navy's ability to defend US allies in Asia amid a conflict with Beijing in the region.

"The idea is that we are going to rely heavily on submarines in the early effort of any conflict with the Chinese", Clark added.

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