Chinese hackers ‘steal missile plans’ from US Navy contractors
Classified military information including missile plans have been stolen from contractors working for the US Navy by hackers linked to China, according to reports. Contractors working for the US Navy have reportedly suffered a series of breaches in the past 18 months.
Richard Spencer, the secretary of the US Navy, has ordered a review of cybersecurity threats, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The review follows reports of the theft of classified plans for a supersonic anti-ship missile to be used by submarines. The plans for the missile were found to have been stolen in June during a hacking attack against a contractor for the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Rhode Island.
In January and February, hackers stole 64 gigabytes of sensitive data stored on the unnamed defense contractor’s unclassified computer network.
The US government has not definitively linked China to the hacking attacks, but the report said that some malware was shown to have been controlled by a computer in China’s Hainan province. The hackers also used hacking tools which have been used by Chinese-affiliated hacking groups in the past.
Cybersecurity experts have linked the US Navy attacks to a Chinese hacking group which has been named Temp.Periscope or Leviathan. The group is known to use so-called email “phishing” attacks which seek to obtain login information using misleading email messages and fake websites.
Hackers often target contractors and suppliers rather than the core military organizations as contractors are more likely to have weak cybersecurity defenses.
Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, said in 2011 that its computer systems had been breached by hackers. The company was forced to replace 45,000 security tokens after the hackers used a vulnerability in the devices to gain access to Lockheed Martin’s network.
With info from The Telegraph
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