DCNS, the French industrial company that specializes in naval defense and energy, has been hit with a massive data breach, specifically in its $3.5 billion project to build six Scorpène-class submarines for India. DCNS’ Scorpène-class submarines are said to be designed to be undetected underwater, but the 22,000 pages of leaked documents detail the technical and combat capabilities, including sonar powers, which poses a national security risk to India.
India’s Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is in charge of investigating the leak, stated that they hope to determine what has been leaked and how much of it is about India. Initial findings revealed that the leak did not originate from India. Concerns over the leak are not taken lightly as there are other countries that are already operating Scorpène-class submarines such as Brazil, Chile, and Malaysia.
Massive, sensitive leak
According to The Australian, the leak includes 4,457 pages on the submarine's underwater sensors, 4,209 pages on its above-water sensors, and 4,301 pages on its combat-management system. Data obtained also included 493 pages on the submarine's torpedo launch systems and specifications, 6,841 pages on communications systems, and 2,138 pages on its navigation systems.
The leak may have came from France as the documents are said to have been written for India in France in 2011, and that a former French Navy officer may have removed them during the time the Indian contract was signed.
The Australian government is concerned that the leak may affect its recently signed deal with DCNS to add 12 submarines using Dassault Systemes' 3DExperience platform, but DCNS stated that the leak in India is in no way connected, or can affect the Australian deal, for the Shortfin Barracuda submarines.
"The matters in connection to India have no bearing on the Australian submarine programme, which operates under the Australian government's arrangements for the protection of sensitive data," DCNS said in a statement.
No hacking group has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the attack, so it is unclear if this is a result of a cyber-espionage campaign.
“This serious matter is thoroughly investigated by the proper French national authorities for Defense Security. This investigation will determine the exact nature of the leaked documents, the potential damages to DCNS customers as well as the responsibilities for this leakage,” DCNA said in a statement.
Photo credit: Mak Hon Keong