December 19, 2018
The US Navy and its partners are 'under cyber siege' from Chinese hackers and are hemorrhaging national security secrets.
Mar. 12, 2019, 5:09 PM
An internal review found that the US Navy and its industry partners are "under cyber siege" from Chinese, Russian, and Iranian hackers, among others, The Wall Street Journal reported
Chinese hackers, accused of stealing boatloads of sensitive data on US military projects over the years, are reportedly considered the primary threat.
The review paints a dire picture, one that comes despite neither the Navy nor the Pentagon knowing the full extent of the damage.
An internal US Navy review concluded that the service and its various industry partners are "under cyber siege" from Chinese hackers who are building Beijing's military capabilities while eroding the US's advantage, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Chinese hackers have repeatedly hit the Navy, defense contractors, and even universities that partner with the service.
"We are under siege," a senior Navy official told The Journal. "People think it's much like a deadly virus — if we don't do anything, we could die."
Breaches have been "numerous," according to the review. While China is identified as the primary threat, hackers from Russia and Iran have also been causing their share of trouble.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer launched the recently concluded review in October, warning that "attacks on our networks are not new, but attempts to steal critical information are increasing in both severity and sophistication."
"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.
In one high-profile incident last year, Chinese government hackers stole important data on US Navy undersea-warfare programs from an unidentified contractor. Among the stolen information were plans for a new supersonic anti-ship missile, The Washington Post reported in June, citing US officials.
That and a second breach led Navy leadership to order the review.
The Journal described the findings of the internal Navy cybersecurity review as "dire," adding that the report "depicts a branch of the armed forces under relentless cyberattack by foreign adversaries and struggling in its response to the scale and sophistication of the problem."
The Navy and the Pentagon reportedly "have only a limited understanding of the actual totality of losses that are occurring," meaning the situation could be even worse than the Navy fears.
Last week, The Journal reported that Chinese hackers have targeted more than two dozen universities in the US and elsewhere in an attempt to steal military secrets, particularly those related to maritime technology.
The Navy is not the only US military service branch in China's crosshairs.
Adm. Philip Davidson, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April 2018 that Beijing is snatching anything not nailed down — "stealing technology in just about every domain and trying to use it to their advantage," Stars and Stripes reported.
A US defense official previously told The Journal that China was targeting America's "weak underbelly," saying that cybersecurity breaches are "an asymmetric way to engage the United States without ever having to fire a round."
China has repeatedly denied engaging in cyberattacks against the US or other countries.
W. O. Belfield, Jr.
December 18, 2018
I remember years and years ago reading a book titled The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll. Clifford was a astronomer by trade but was managing the computers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Due to a .75 cent discrepancy in a computer usage account, Clifford discovered a hacker. The book details how Clifford goes about tracking and recording the hacker's trek through the internet. He also alerts the various agencies about this 'invader' yet it seems there were either confusion as to jurisdiction or just lack of interest/action. It's a good read, but it's written in 1989, so it's obviously 'old school' systems/infrastructure. But the topic of the book is as pertinent today, more so than it was back when it was published.
While civilizations live, they may still aspire, and hope - as long as their legions can hold the far frontier. - T.R. Fehrenbach
December 19, 2018
I am familiar with Cliff Stoll. I like him. He once said ( I am paraphrasing of course!) most people would be willing to purchase an object that is portable, requires no power and you can read it anytime you want. During this presentation people thought Cliff Stoll was talking about a new laptop computer, instead he was describing a regular old "book."
W. O. Belfield, Jr.