US Navy guided missile submarine.

US Navy | AP

US Navy affected by Chinese government hack revealed Microsoft Earlier this week, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan on Thursday.

Del Toro said the US Navy had been “suffered” by cyber attacks, adding that it was “not surprising that China has been behaving this way for not just the last couple of years, but decades.”

He declined to provide more details about the intrusion, but suggested the Navy has been dealing with similar cyberattacks for years.

Microsoft, along with leading intelligence agencies and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, issued an alert on Wednesday warning corporate and government enterprises that a sophisticated Chinese state hacking group had successfully exploited a vulnerability in a popular cybersecurity suite.

Microsoft said Wednesday that a vulnerability exploited by a group codenamed “Volt Typhoon” affects critical cyber infrastructure across a number of industries. Microsoft noted that Chinese hackers targeted the communications and maritime sectors of Guam, home to a key US military base.

The hacking group appeared to be focused on surveillance rather than disruption, Microsoft said. But senior intelligence officials and researchers have expressed concern that Guam has been targeted, telling The New York Times that the island territory will be critical to fending off China’s long-running invasion of Taiwan.

China’s foreign ministry and state-controlled press dismissed the findings from Microsoft and the intelligence community as “misinformation.”

Earlier Thursday, a State Department spokesman said it was vital for both the government and the public to remain vigilant. “We will continue to work with our allies and partners to address this critical issue,” spokesman Matthew Miller said at a briefing.

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