The data stolen was held on the contractor's unclassified network but all the material together could be considered classified, officials told the Post.
WASHINGTON-The Defense Department's Inspector General's office is investigating a major security breach after Chinese hackers stole large amounts of sensitive data from a Navy contractor, according to multiple military officials.
The missile project, titled "Sea Dragon", along with submarine cryptographic systems, was part of the 614 gigabytes of sensitive information stolen by China. The aforementioned supersonic anti-ship missile was set to be developed by 2020 for use on US submarines.
The contractor, which was not named in the report, works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, based in Newport, Rhode Island.
The U.S. Navy is now heading an investigation into the breach, with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Unnamed U.S. officials, discussing the incident with The Washington Post, mentioned that multiple breaches took place in January and February. Bill Speaks told the Post. The Post said details on hundreds of mechanical and software systems were compromised in the hacking.
'Per federal regulations, there are measures in place that require companies to notify the government when a "cyber incident" has occurred that has actual or potential adverse effects on their networks that contain controlled unclassified information, ' the U.S. Navy said in response to a query from Reuters.
The Post "agreed to withhold certain details about the compromised missile project at the request of the Navy, which argued that their release could harm national security". The news comes as President Donald Trump's administration is seeking to secure Beijing's support in persuading North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, even as tensions persist between the United States and China over trade and defence matters. US officials have always been anxious that ZTE equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage or sabotage. It conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weapons systems. The information related to a secret project known as Sea Dragon.