Chinese hackers obtain sensitive US Navy submarine, missile data

Chinese government-backed hackers have managed to break into a US Navy contractor’s computer network and obtain vast amounts of data on secretive missile programs and other submarine-related matters.

US Navy file photo of Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) arriving at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton.

The breaches took place in January and February this year, according to a Washington Post report, and allowed the hackers to collect over six hundred gigabytes of data.

The material obtained by the hackers was sensitive but not classified. However, two US Navy officials told Washington Post that, when put together, the material could be considered classified.

Hackers broke into an unidentified contractor’s network obtaining info on submarine signals and sensor data and other cryptographic systems.

The greatest cause of concern for Pentagon officials, however, is the fact that China obtained info on the navy’s little-known Sea Dragon anti-ship missile program which aims to integrate an existing anti-ship missile system with an existing US Navy submarine.

The Washington Post said it agreed not to reveal more details about the missile project at the request of the Navy which cited potential threats to national security. The report only revealed that the Pentagon invested $300 million into it since 2015 and that underwater testing was expected to start by September.