Hackers linked to the Chinese government broke into computers belonging to a Navy contractor and stole a trove of sensitive information about a U.S. Navy project and undersea warfare, The Washington Post is reporting.
The contractor, which was not named in the report, works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, based in Newport, Rhode Island.
The US's intervention comes after The People's Liberation Army-Navy confirmed its aircraft carrier strike group - led by 67,500 tone Liaoning - is now ready for war.
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". Bill Speaks told the DC paper.
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The data that was compromised by what officials believe were Chinese hackers working for the state intelligence agency concerns the Sea Dragon project, which is aimed at "integrating an existing weapon system with an existing Navy platform".
At the Navy's request, the Post withheld information about the compromised new missile system, but said it was for a supersonic anti-ship missile that could be launched from submarines.
The development comes amid tense trade negotiations between the US and China.
The U.S. Navy and the FBI are investigating a massive hack attack on a Navy contractor, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin has confirmed.
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According the the Post, the Sea Dragon project is part of the Defense Department's efforts to adapt existing technologies to new applications.
Naval experts fear that the build-up is created to undermine the US's ability to defend its allies in the region and suggests that most of the advancements made have come from cyber attacks mostly aimed at private contractors.
"U.S. naval forces are going to have a really hard time operating in that area, except for submarines, because the Chinese don't have a lot of anti-submarine warfare capability", he said.
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