June 11, 2018 at
A large amount of highly-sensitive data was lost to Chinese hackers during the attack on the US Navy contractor back in January and February of this year. The hackers were supposedly backed by China’s government, and the stolen data includes information about advanced anti-ship missile project that is currently in development.
China steals sensitive plans from the US Navy
Hacking attacks are bad enough when they only target regular people or random companies. However, when their targets are top secret projects belonging to the US Navy, the situation quickly becomes much worse.
According to reports, back in January and February of this year, the US Navy contractor had its systems compromised by the hacking team backed by the Chinese government. The hackers managed to get away with 614 gigabytes of highly sensitive data related to modern methods of undersea warfare.
More specifically, the stolen documents included a classified info regarding the supersonic anti-ship missile project. The project is still in development, and the missiles were supposed to be used on the submarines belonging to the US by 2020.
According to sources, the contractor that the attack was targeting works for the NUWC (Naval Undersea Warfare Center). This is a special facility that deals with research and development of undersea warfare, but also in testing, engineering and evaluating. Not to mention that it serves as a fleet support center for the US submarines, and autonomous systems for underwater warfare. It also designs both defensive and offensive weapons system for this purpose.
The investigation of the attack uncovered that around 614 gigabytes of data were stolen from an unclassified network used by the contractor. It describes a project by the name of ‘Sea Dragon’, but apart from the project details, the remaining data that was stolen relates to sensor data, signals, information regarding the cryptographic systems of subs’ radio rooms, and even the electronic warfare library owned by the unit that was tasked with submarine development.
China vs the US: the cyber war rages on
Due to the fact that the investigation is still on-going, no more details regarding the attack were published, on the Navy’s request. What is known, however, is that this attack is a part of a long-lasting cyberwar between the US and China. The US has had some successful hits in this ‘battle of wits’ as well, and the NSA managed to steal a large amount of SMS data from China after hacking their three biggest cell phone operators.
Another successful hack by China was reported in May 2013, when this country’s hackers managed to access US’ sensitive weaponry system. They managed to affect over 24 key systems during this attack, including systems regarding the missile defense, fighter jets, as well as helicopters and navy vessels.
There was another hack earlier this year, in March. This attack was believed to be performed by APT15, which is a hacking group tied to the Chinese intelligence. This time, they managed to steal secret information regarding the military technology of the UK, and they managed to do so by compromising the computer belonging to one of UK’s contractors. After breaching its defenses, the hackers launched a malware attack.