Chinese hackers stole secret plans for new US Navy weapon


Hackers linked to the Chinese government broke into computers belonging to a Navy contractor and stole a trove of sensitive information about a U.S. Navy project and undersea warfare, The Washington Post is reporting.

Government experts were said to have compromised the computers of a U.S. navy contractor, giving them access to the information, according to the Washington Post, citing unnamed American officials.

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. The aforementioned supersonic anti-ship missile was set to be developed by 2020 for use on US submarines.

Unnamed U.S. officials, discussing the incident with The Washington Post, mentioned that multiple breaches took place in January and February.

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

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The newspaper said it had agreed to withhold some details about the compromised missile project after the Navy said their release could harm national security.

Security professionals have long observed Chinese spies conducting cyberattacks against US defense contractors in order to spy on military capabilities.

"The breach is part of China's long-running effort to blunt the U.S. advantage in military technology and become the preeminent power in East Asia". The White House is seeking Beijing's help in negotiating with North Korea over its nuclear weapons, while at the same time sparring with China over trade and China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, reports the Hill. That includes stealing secrets from our defense contractors, ' said Talent.

The Pentagon has not said much about Sea Dragon, launched in 2012, except that it is aimed at adapting existing military technologies to new uses.

The last massive government breaches were reported in 2015 when cyber attacks from Beijing targeted the Office of Personnel Management and Woods Hole Institute, an oceanographic research organization that sometimes partners with the US Navy.