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China hacks computers of US Navy contractor, secures highly sensitive data
09 June 2018, 02:44 | Devin Moran
WashPost: Chinese Hackers Steal Secret Navy Submarines Data
Beijing's expanded presence in the South China Sea has prompted U.S. Navy officials to develop new weapons such as supersonic anti-ship missiles. The newspaper reported that while the data was housed on the contrator's unclassified network, when aggregated, officials said the data could be considered classified.
The hackers, according to the Post, also stole plans for a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on USA submarines with the breaches taking place in January and February.
The breaches occured in January and February and affected a contractor working on submarines and underwater weapons, the Washington Post first reported 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.
The data pilfered from the contractor's computer included plans on a USA project to build a supersonic anti-ship missile that can be mounted on American submarines by 2020, according to the Post, which cited an anonymous US officials.
In a comment to the Post, however, a Navy spokesman said there's a process in place for third parties to notify the government when a breach may have affected controlled unclassified information, but that it would be "inappropriate to discuss further details".
The hackers targeted an unnamed firm under contract with the Navy's Naval Undersea Warfare.
The Washington Post said it agreed to withhold some details at the request of the USA navy over fears it could compromise national security.
Military experts said the breach signaled that China could be working to complicate the Navy's ability to defend US allies in Asia amid a conflict with Beijing in the region.
The news comes as President Donald Trump's administration is seeking to secure Beijing's support in persuading North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, even as tensions persist between the U.S. and China over trade and defence matters.
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