US Navy ‘affected’ by Chinese-backed pirates: Secretary of the Navy

  • US Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro told CNBC Thursday that the US Navy has been “affected” by Chinese state-backed hackers.
  • The hack was first reported by Microsoft and the NSA on Wednesday, and targeted infrastructure in the United States and Guam.
  • Microsoft has warned that communications, maritime and transportation infrastructure is at risk.

US Navy guided missile submarine.

US Navy | AP

US Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro told Morgan Brennan Thursday that the US Navy has been affected by the Chinese state-sponsored hack revealed by Microsoft earlier this week.

Del Toro said the US Navy has been “affected” by the cyberattacks, adding that “it’s not surprising that China has acted this way, not just over the past two years, but for decades.”

He declined to provide more details about the incursion, but noted that the Navy has been dealing with such cyberattacks for years.

Microsoft issued an alert along with top intelligence agencies and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Wednesday, alerting businesses and public institutions that a sophisticated Chinese state-backed hacking group has successfully exploited a vulnerability in the popular cybersecurity group.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that the vulnerability, which was exploited by a group codenamed “Vault Typhoon,” affects critical cyber infrastructure across a range of industries. Microsoft indicated that the Chinese hackers targeted the communications and marine sectors in Guam, which includes a major US military base.

Microsoft indicated that the hacking group appears to focus on monitoring, not disruption. But senior intelligence officials and researchers have expressed concern that Guam has been targeted, saying New York times The island’s territory would be crucial to repelling a long-feared invasion of Taiwan by China.

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China’s foreign ministry and state-controlled press dismissed the findings by Microsoft and the intelligence community as “disinformation”.

Earlier on Thursday, a State Department spokesperson said it was essential that the government and the public remain vigilant. “We will continue to work with our allies and partners to address this critical issue,” spokesman Matthew Miller told a news briefing.

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