Chinese government hackers broke into the unclassified computer network of a Navy contractor in January and February and accessed 614 gigabytes of technological information about a submarine-based missile known as Sea Dragon, as well other highly sensitive classified data, reports the Washington Post.
The contractor that was subjected to the attack was not identified in the report, but it was revealed that its work was commissioned by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Navy's research, development, test and evaluation center for submarines, as well as offensive and defensive undersea warfare. Among these were secret plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on USA submarines by 2020, The Washington Post reported. "It would be inappropriate to discuss further details at this time", the US Navy said in a statement to Reuters news agency.
The data stolen was of a highly sensitive nature despite being housed on the contractor's unclassified network.
"The breach is part of China's long-running effort to blunt the USA advantage in military technology and become the preeminent power in East Asia".
USA officials have always been anxious that ZTE equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage or sabotage.
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Tensions between Beijing and Washington have increased in recent months after US President Donald Trump threatened to slap crippling tariffs on Chinese goods. That includes stealing secrets from our defense contractors, ' said Talent. The latter remains secretive: The only information released by the DoD is that it will integrate an existing weapon system with an existing Navy platform.
The Chinese government has made long-term investments in bolstering its military capabilities over the years, acquiring quieter submarines equipped with sophisticated weaponry.
The officials said the material, when aggregated, could be considered classified, a fact that raises concerns about the Navy's ability to oversee contractors tasked with developing cutting-edge weapons.
Officials told the newspapers that there is an ongoing investigation into the breach by the US Navy and the FBI.