Navy, Industry Partners Are ‘Under Cyber Siege’ by Chinese Hackers, Review Asserts.
WASHINGTON -The Navy and its industry partners are “under cyber siege” by Chinese hackers and others who have stolen national security secrets in recent years, exploiting critical weaknesses that threaten the U.S.’s standing as the world’s top military power.
An internal U.S. Navy review concluded that the service and its various industry partners are “under cyber siege” from Chinese hackers who are building Beijing’s military capabilities while eroding the U.S.’s advantage,
Breaches have been “numerous,” according to the review. While China is identified as the primary threat, hackers from Russia and Iran have also been causing their share of trouble.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer launched the recently concluded review in October, warning that “attacks on our networks are not new, but attempts to steal critical information are increasing in both severity and sophistication.”
“We must act decisively to fully understand both the nature of these attacks and how to prevent further loss of vital military information,” he added.
In one high-profile incident last year, Chinese government hackers stole important data on U.S. Navy undersea-warfare programs from an unidentified contractor. Among the stolen information were plans for a new supersonic anti-ship missile, The Washington Post reported in June, citing U.S. officials.
The Journal described the findings of the internal Navy cybersecurity review as “dire,” adding that the report “depicts a branch of the armed forces under relentless cyberattack by foreign adversaries and struggling in its response to the scale and sophistication of the problem.”
The Navy and the Pentagon reportedly “have only a limited understanding of the actual totality of losses that are occurring,” meaning the situation could be even worse than the Navy fears.
Last week, The Journal reported that Chinese hackers have targeted more than two dozen universities in the US and elsewhere in an attempt to steal military secrets, particularly those related to maritime technology.
Chinese hackers reportedly targeted 27 universities for military secrets
The hackers sent universities spear phishing emails doctored to appear as if they came from partner universities, but they unleashed a malicious payload when opened. Universities are traditionally seen as easier targets than US military contractors, and they can still contain useful military research.
27 universities were found to have been targeted by the group, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington, and other colleges in Canada and Southeast Asia. iDefense didn’t name every school in the report due to ongoing investigations, but anonymous sources told the WSJ that Penn State and Duke University were two of the other targets.
The cyberattacks focused on universities that either studied underwater tech or had faculty with relevant backgrounds. Many had ties to the US’s largest oceanographic research institute, which itself has ties to the US Navy’s warfare center.
iDefense said it was highly confident the institute had been breached.
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