Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Chinese Hackers Are Reportedly Stealing Loads Of US Navy Secrets, And The Navy Is Scrambling To Stop It
U.S. Navy defense contractors and subcontractors have reportedly suffered "more than a handful" of disconcerting security breaches at the hands of Chinese hackers over the past year and a half.
"Attacks on our networks are not new, but attempts to steal critical information are increasing in both severity and sophistication," Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said in an internal memo in October, The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed the memo, reported Friday.
"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.
Although the secretary did not mention China specifically, evidence indicates that Beijing is responsible for what is considered a debilitating cyber campaign against the U.S.
Earlier this 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, citing U.S. officials, reported in June.
China has been striving to boost its naval warfighting capabilities, and there is evidence that it is relying on stolen technology to do so.
And it's not just the U.S. Navy. Adm. Philip Davidson, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April that Beijing is "stealing technology in just about every domain and trying to use it to their advantage."
China is believed to have been behind multiple cybersecurity breaches that facilitated the theft of significant amounts of data on the F-22 and F-35, among other aircraft. That information is suspected to have played a role in the development of China's new fifth-generation stealth fighters.
Beijing denies that it engages in any form of cyberespionage.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69), center, conduct a photo exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships.U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peter
A senior U.S. intelligence official warned Tuesday that concerning Chinese cyber activity in the U.S. is clearly on the rise, and there is evidence that China is targeting critical infrastructure to lay the groundwork for disruptive attacks, Reuters reported.
And U.S. officials say Chinese state hackers are responsible for a data breach at Marriott affecting 500 million customers, according to recent reports. The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized Beijing for the alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property to the tune of several hundred billion dollars a year, one of several sticking points in the ongoing trade spat.
The breaching of the systems of key U.S. defense contractors are particularly problematic as China modernizes its force, building a military able to challenge that of the U.S.
"It's extremely hard for the Defense Department to secure its own systems," Tom Bossert, the former homeland security adviser in the Trump administration, told the Journal. "It's a matter of trust and hope to secure the systems of their contractors and subcontractors."
Contractors and subcontractors across the entire military lack the desired cybersecurity capabilities and regularly suffer serious breaches, an intelligence official said.
The most active Chinese hackers are reportedly a group known as Temp.Periscope or Leviathan, which is focused on maritime interests but also hits other targets.
One defense official told the Journal that China was targeting America's "weak underbelly," calling cybersecurity breaches "an asymmetric way to engage the United States without ever having to fire a round."
Read more from Business Insider:
- China is boosting its undersea-warfare capabilities — and stealing U.S. technology to do so, a U.S. admiral says
- The U.S. and South Korea can't agree on splitting the cost of keeping American troops there, and the US is giving Korean workers a warning
- Hundreds of troops deployed to the US-Mexico border have started heading home, but many more are staying through the holidays
- After a spat with the U.S., Russian bombers in Venezuela carried out drills over the Caribbean
- U.S. forces and Iraqi fighters are facing each other in a 'Wild West situation' on the Iraq-Syria border
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.
Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.
The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.
Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."
Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.
A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.
The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.
QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.