Chinese hackers stole undersea warfare data from US Navy contractor

USS George H.W. Bush

Chinese government hackers have stolen a massive cache of highly sensitive data related to undersea warfare from a US Navy contractor, including secret plans to develop a new type of submarine-launched anti-ship missile, a media report said today.

The hackers targeted the contractor who works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre - a military organisation headquartered in Rhode Island's Newport city - that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry, The Washington Post reported.

The data itself was stored on an unclassified network, but the officials who talked to the Post said that when all of the data that was stolen was put together the result would be considered classified. They obtained plans for, among others, the patriot PAC-3 missile system, the F-35 joint strike fighter, and a system for shooting down ballistic missiles, according to the Post.

The Navy is leading the investigation into the breach-that occurred in January and February-with the assistance of the FBI, US officials said on Friday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets Britain's Prince Andrew, not pictured, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, May 29, 2018. "It would be inappropriate to discuss further details at this time", the US Navy said in a statement to Reuters news agency. The material compromised included details of a project "Sea Dragon", as well as submarine radio room information, signals and sensors data, and more.

The U.S. Navy is now heading an investigation into the breach, with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The breach continues China's longstanding effort to "blunt the USA advantage in military technology and become the pre-eminent power in east Asia", the Post reported.

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 little information the Pentagon has released about Sea Dragon says the program has the capacity to introduce "disruptive offensive capability" by 'integrating an existing weapon system with an existing Navy platform'.

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