Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Chinese government hackers stole sensitive U.S. Navy undersea warfare plans: WashPost

Chinese government hackers stole sensitive U.S. Navy undersea warfare plans: WashPost

Media outlets were told by naval officials that it was "inappropriate to discuss further details at this time".

The Chinese Embassy knows nothing about the reported hacking, an embassy spokesperson told Reuters in an email, adding that the Chinese government "staunchly upholds cyber security, firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks in accordance with law".

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

The Chinese government hacked a Navy contractor's computers earlier this year, stealing huge amounts of very sensitive data - including secret plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on USA submarines by 2020, The Washington Post disclosed Friday.

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

This isn't the first time the US Navy has been hacked, nor is it the most extensive hack conducted by the Chinese government.

The breach is part of Beijing's long-time effort to steal technological secrets from the United States as it seeks to blunt Washington's influence in the east Pacific and dominate the region.

The Navy was leading an investigation into the hack with the help of the FBI, the Post reported. The Chinese hackers compromised a contractor who had been hired by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

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Alongside other countries, including the US, China is believed to have significant offensive cyber warfare capabilities. Perhaps significantly, the data compromised included secret plans of a supersonic anti-ship missile as well. It would also augment a suite of other anti-ship weapons that the USA military has been developing in recent years.

Also on Friday, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer was convicted on espionage charges for providing China with top secret information in exchange for $25,000 (€21,200), the US Justice Department said. According to the investigators, the operatives of the Chinese Ministry of State Security also obtained the Navy's submarine development unit library, which offers a glimpse into hundreds of mechanical and software systems used by the Navy.

USA officials say they believe the hack was carried out by the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

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