Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Chinese gov't hackers stole sensitive U.S. Navy undersea warfare plans

Chinese gov't hackers stole sensitive U.S. Navy undersea warfare plans

The group does R&D for submarines and underwater weapons, but the anonymous officials did not say the name of the contractor.

China's state hackers have reportedly stolen a large amount of highly-sensitive U.S. navy data on its undersea warfare, including plans for supersonic anti-ship missiles on submarines. An investigation is ongoing.

Although the information was highly sensitive, it was housed on the contractor's unclassified network, according to the Post. US officials have always been anxious that ZTE equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage or sabotage.

Among the data seized was also information on the US Navy's plans to mount a supersonic anti-ship missile on a submarine, The Post reported. The data included information about Project Sea Dragon and naval codes.

The Navy and the FBI are investigating the breach.

The American officials also revealed to the US media outlets that the Chinese government hackers also stole plans for an anti-missile ship by the US Navy.

The news comes days before a summit in Singapore at which US President Donald Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who counts Beijing among his allies.

Officials said that the data gleaned by China was unclassified.

Some 614 gigabytes on a program called "Sea Dragon" were swiped as well, the news daily reported Friday withholding certain details about the compromised missile project at the request of the Navy.

The hack is another instance of cyber espionage affecting the USA government and its resources. The Rhode Island-based military organization focuses on researching and developing submarines and naval weapons.

China has recently made it a priority to increase its development of undersea warfare to diminish the gap in the US superiority in this area.

A US Navy spokesman said companies had a duty to tell the government if they had been targeted in cyber attacks. "If such an intrusion were to occur, the appropriate parties would be looking at the specific incident, taking measures to protect current information, and mitigating the impacts that might result from any information that might have been compromised". Investigators told the paper the hack was carried out by the Chinese Ministry of State Security, a civilian spy agency.

China and the United States have been locked in an escalating fight over cyber and military technology, with Beijing making rapid gains in recent years.

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