US Navy: Sea Dragon Design Is Stolen by Hackers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 9, 2018
American officials said on Friday, that sensitive data related to naval warfare from the computers of a Navy contractor has been stolen, according to NY Times.
The breach occurred in January and February this year, the officials said, when hackers infiltrated the computers of a company working on a submarine-based missile known as Sea Dragon and underwater programs contractand accessed 614 gigabytes of technological information. Sea Dragon is a $300 million project scheduled for underwater testing in September.
The company, which was not identified, was doing work for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, which is based in Newport, R.I.
The officials said that the data gleaned by hackers was unclassified.
But in a statement, Lt. Marycate Walsh, a Navy spokeswoman, cited “measures in place that require companies to notify the government when a cyber incident has occurred that has actual or potential adverse effects on their networks that contain controlled unclassified information.”
She said it would be “inappropriate to discuss further details at this time.”
The theft of the Navy system is hardly the largest, or the most sensitive, of the designs and systems stealing by hackers over the years. But it underscores a lesson the American government keeps learning: no matter how fast the government moves to shore up it cyberdefenses, and those of the defense industrial base, the cyberattackers move faster.
But the United States is unlikely to retaliate. To most intelligence officials this is just another espionage case, bearing similarities to what the United States does around the world.
Lieutenant Walsh said that the Navy treated “the broader intrusion against our contractors very seriously.”
“If such an intrusion were to occur, the appropriate parties would be looking at the specific incident, taking measures to protect current info, and mitigating the impacts that might result from any information that might have been compromised,” she said.
This theft has raised questions again about the Navy’s handling of contractors, particularly those working on high-tech weapons. The US protects its secrets using “highly compartmented security systems,” says retired admiral James Stavridis. When one of those is hacked, “you give up an enormous advantage in surprise.”
According to earlier reports, hackers 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.
Other Navy officials declined to speak publicly about the hack, which was first reported by The Washington Post.