Submarine maker hit by major data leak revealing Indian naval secrets
Wed 24 Aug 2016
French defence specialist DCNS has been hit with a massive data breach, which has leaked technical and combat information related to the Indian military’s Scorpene submarine program.
The leak, which compromised over 22,000 classified documents, could pose major risks to national security in India, as well as across Malaysia, Chile and Brazil – all of which already operate Scorpene.
Australia could also be under threat – the country holds a $50 billion contract with DCNS, which is building a new fleet of submarines for its naval defence units.
Scorpene submarines, which cost $3.5 billion (approx. £2.6 billion), are ranked as the world’s most advanced watercraft and are built to travel undetected underwater. However, the data leak has reportedly exposed Scorpene’s technical design, including details on its sonar capabilities, navigation, and torpedo launch systems.
According to a DCNS spokesperson, French authorities for defence security are currently formally investigating the nature of the leak. The company also stated that there was no overlap between the Indian submarine programme and that of the Australian project.
‘The matters in connection to India have no bearing on the Australian submarine program which operates under the Australian government’s arrangements for the protection of sensitive data,’ the spokesperson added.
India has also launched an investigation into the breach. ‘I have asked the Navy Chief to investigate the matter and find what has been leaked and how much of it is about us,’ India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told The Hindu.
It remains unclear whether the hacking was a result of a targeted espionage campaign, and the attacks have yet to be attributed to any particular actors.
While DCNS maintains that it was only the ‘provider’ of the technical data rather than the ‘controller’, some reports suggest that the leak originated in France in 2011 and contains information on other DCNS projects outside of the Indian program.