The Washington Post is reporting that hackers from China breached the network of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in September, forcing cyber security teams to seal off data vital to disaster planning, aviation, shipping and scores of other crucial uses. The article cites sources within the government and Congress.
The intrusion occurred in late September. However, NOAA officials gave no indication that they had a problem until Oct. 20, according to three people familiar with the hack and the subsequent reaction by NOAA, which includes the National Weather Service.
According to the report, NOAA officials believe that actors based in China are responsible for the attack. The report also claims that efforts to respond to it resulted in an interruption in some key services, including NOAA’s National Ice Center Web Site, a partnership with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard to monitor conditions for navigation.
That two-day outage skewed the accuracy of National Weather Service long-range forecasts slightly, according to NOAA.
Officials quoted in the story said they were not sure whether the attack was intended to plant malicious software on National Weather Service systems, or if it was a stepping stone to even more valuable systems in other, connected agencies.
Still, data from National Weather Service and NOAA is shared broadly by private and public organizations across the U.S. and in Europe. Disruptions in the flow of that data can affect everything from commutes to air travel.
Read more on the Washington Post via Chinese hack U.S. weather systems, satellite network – The Washington Post.