Hackers have stolen confidential documents from a US military contractor which provides critical support for the country’s Minuteman III nuclear deterrent, Sky News has learnt.
After gaining access to Westech International’s computer network, the criminals encrypted the company’s machines and began to leak documents online to pressure the company to pay extortion.
It is unclear if the documents stolen by the criminals include military classified information, but files which have already been leaked online suggest the hackers had access to extremely sensitive data, including payroll and emails.
There are also concerns that Russian-speaking operators behind the attack could attempt to monetise their haul by selling information about the nuclear deterrent on to a hostile state.
Court documents in the US allege that Russian cyber criminals with a financial motivation have collaborated with the intelligence services in order to steal classified government documents.
A spokesperson for Westech confirmed to Sky News that the company had been hacked and its computers encrypted, and that investigations to identify what data the criminals had managed to steal were ongoing.
The company is involved with the nuclear deterrent as a sub-contractor for Northrup Grumman, providing engineering and maintenance support for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.
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News Source: https://news.sky.com/