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Friday, September 22, 2023

Chinese hackers target US Navy in cyberattack, report says

A group of Chinese hackers allegedly launched a cyberattack on the US Navy and other organizations in the US and Guam, according to a report by Microsoft. The tech giant said the hackers, dubbed Volt Typhoon, breached government, communications, manufacturing and IT networks in preparation for a possible future conflict in the Pacific.

The hacking campaign was confirmed by authorities in the US, UK and other allied nations on Wednesday. US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told CNBC on Thursday that the Navy was impacted by the intrusions, but the extent of the breach was not immediately known.

The hackers reportedly exploited vulnerabilities in home routers and other devices to gain access to the networks. Rob Joyce, the director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency (NSA), told CNN that Chinese hackers could still have access to sensitive US networks that they have targeted.

Joyce said the intrusions stood out in how brazen they were in “scope and scale.” He added that the hackers could launch disruptive or destructive attacks when things are “hitting the fan.”


The NSA, along with intelligence agencies from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, also shared more details on the hackers. Those countries are part of a key intelligence alliance, known as the Five Eyes, which includes sharing cybersecurity information.

China has denied the hacking accusations. The cyberattack comes amid rising tensions between China and the US over issues such as Taiwan, trade and human rights. Microsoft said it had “moderate confidence” that the breaches were carried out to disrupt communications in the event of a crisis.

The US Navy is a vital component of the US military presence in the Pacific region. Guam is a strategic military base that hosts thousands of US troops and aircraft. The US has vowed to defend Taiwan from any Chinese aggression. Taiwan is claimed by China as its own territory, but has its own government and military.

The cyberattack highlights the growing threat of cyberwarfare in an increasingly interconnected world. Experts have warned that cyberattacks could cause significant damage to critical infrastructure, such as power grids, water systems and health care facilities. Cybersecurity experts have urged governments and organizations to improve their defenses and resilience against cyberattacks.


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