America is risking losing its military advantage in the long-term due to hackers stealing national security data, according to an internal review by the US Navy.
The review report stated that China and Russia are increasingly targeting the US military and its industry partners. This raises the question of whether the US is able to defend itself from cyber attacks.
China and Russia are reportedly using well developed cyber-enabled regional and global ‘grey zone’ unconventional strategies to achieve their objectives.
Furthermore, the report highlighted how China used stolen IP over the years to grow its gross national product (GNP) to roughly two-thirds of America’s and to increase the military advantage.
A statement from the review read: “Long-term, US future military advantage is being diminished by years of IP exfiltration from the DoD, DON, and DIB, all with little to no adverse consequences to the thieves.
“Long-term military advantage is also being further eroded as the indigenous innovation capabilities of China begin to grow at an exponential rate.”
According to the report, the theft includes critical information on weapon systems, advanced technologies, and unique capabilities and systemic and individual human vulnerabilities.
A senior US Navy official was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying: “We are under siege. People think it’s much like a deadly virus; if we don’t do anything, we could die.”
The review was conducted following the loss of significant amounts of US Department of the Navy data, including compromises of classified and sensitive information.
According to WSJ, Chinese hackers repeatedly targeted the navy, defence contractors, and even universities that partner with the service.
The publication added a high-profile incident last year that saw Chinese hackers steal important data on US Navy undersea-warfare programmes from an unidentified contractor.
The data breach also included information on plans for a new supersonic anti-ship missile, The Washington Post reported in June, citing US officials.
In response to the review, US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said: “With urgency, the Department of the Navy Secretariat along with the chief of naval operations and the commandant of the Marine Corps, will coordinate with the Department of Defense and Congress for the resources required to compete and win in the cyber domain.”