WASHINGTON—The National Security Agency on Tuesday warned that Chinese government hackers were taking aim at U.S. computer networks involved in national defense, characterizing the threat posed by Beijing as a critical priority in need of urgent attention.
The vulnerabilities described in the NSA’s new alert were already known to cybersecurity professionals, but the nation’s premier electronic spy agency for the first time described them as targets of Chinese state-sponsored hacking campaigns. The NSA urged cyber defenders across the Defense Department and within the defense industrial base to take action to guard against Chinese intrusion.
“These networks often undergo a full array of tactics and techniques used by Chinese state-sponsored cyber actors to exploit computer networks of interest that hold sensitive intellectual property, economic, political, and military information,” the alert warned.
The Chinese embassy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Beijing has historically denied engaging in cyberattacks against the U.S. that violate international norms on acceptable behavior.
The U.S. armed forces, defense contractors and U.S. universities engaged in defense research have for years seen China’s theft of military secrets as a top national security issue.