US Navy warship cybersecurity 'vulnerable'

The computer network on the US Navy's newest class of coastal warships reportedly showed vulnerabilities in cybersecurity tests, but the issues were not severe enough to prevent deployment.
The USS Freedom is one of the US Navy's newest coastal warships

A US Navy team of computer hacking experts found some deficiencies when assigned to try to penetrate the network of the USS Freedom, the lead vessel in the $37 billion (£24 billion) Littoral Combat Ship programme, according to Reuters, speaking to a Navy official.

The Freedom arrived in Singapore last week for an eight-month stay, which its builder, Lockheed Martin, hopes will stimulate Asian demand for the fast, agile and stealthy ships.

"We do these types of inspections across the fleet to find individual vulnerabilities, as well as fleet-wide trends," said the official.

Cybersecurity is a major priority for the Navy, which relies heavily on communications and satellite networks for its weapons systems and situational awareness.

Jennifer Elzea, a Defence Department spokesman, said the Pentagon's chief weapons test agency addressed "information assurance vulnerabilities" for the Littoral Combat Ship in an assessment provided to the Navy.
"The details of that assessment are classified," Elzea said.

Lockheed spokesman Keith Little said the company was working with the Navy to ensure that USS Freedom's networks were secure during the deployment.

The Navy plans to buy 52 of the new LCS warships in coming years, including some of Lockheed's steel monohull design and some of an aluminum-hulled LCS trimaran design built by Australia's Austal. The ships are designed for combat and other missions in shallower waters close to shore.

Meanwhile China is reportedly planning a second and larger aircraft carrier, according to state media, after its first was commissioned last year as part of a military buildup.