Chinese Hackers Prompt Navy College Site Closure

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Chinese computer hackers penetrated the Naval War College network earlier this month, forcing security authorities to shut down all e-mail and official computer network work at the Navy's school for senior officers.

Navy officials said the computer attack was detected Nov. 15 and two days later the U.S. Strategic Command raised the security alert level for the Pentagon's 12,000 computer networks and 5 million computers.

A spokesman for the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command, located in Norfolk, said "network intrusions" were detected at the Newport, R.I., military school two weeks ago.

"The system-network connection was terminated and known affected systems were removed and are being examined for forensic evidence to determine the extent of the intrusion," said Lt. Cmdr. Doug Gabos, the spokesman.

"The Naval War College computer system-network is used by students at the war college and contains Navy Professional Reading Program and other materials, all of which are unclassified information."

The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating the breach, another official said.

The Naval War College trains senior officers, conducts war games and carries out some classified research such as studies of future warfare. The college's Web site was not accessible yesterday.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chief of naval operations, recently directed the war college's Strategic Studies Group to begin work to develop concepts for waging cyber-warfare, a Navy spokesman said.

"The Naval War College is where the Navy's Strategic Studies Group is planning and practicing cyber-war techniques, and now they don't even have e-mail access," one U.S. official said.

U.S. defense officials said intelligence reports indicated that the cyber-attack on the college came from China, which a recent congressional report said has begun a series of computer network attacks against defense and military systems in the United States code-named "Titan Rain. …