Chinese hackers have breached the computer systems of a number of US Navy contractors of various sizes, stealing vast amounts of data, ranging from ship maintenance details to missile schematics, The Wall Street Journal reported on 14 December, citing experts and anonymous officials.
According to the sources, the amount of security breaches allegedly performed by Chinese hackers has significantly increased over the last 18 months, with smaller contractors desperately struggling to find the resources to strengthen their security.
The newspaper claims that the data stolen in the attacks is "highly sensitive, classified information about advanced military technology". For example, the schematic of a supersonic anti-ship missile developed for US submarines was reportedly stolen, among other things.
Sources claim that the cyberattacks left "fingerprints" allegedly pointing at China, specifically to the island province of Hainan, due to an accidentally exposed IP address. Other evidence of alleged Chinese involvement was the use of a "suite of custom hacking tools", which is believed to be distributed among Chinese hackers.
Washington has accused China of conducting industrial espionage, stealing the secrets of American companies. Beijing has strongly denied the accusations on multiple occasions, claiming that it's not responsible for cyberattacks.