Chief Of Naval Operations "Looking Into" Possibility Ships Were Hacked

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mac Slavo via,

Tragedy struck the USS John S. McCain on Monday, when the destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Singapore, leaving 10 sailors missing and five injured. The US Navy is still struggling to find all of the remains of the missing sailors, and has ordered an operational pause for all naval fleets around the world as investigators try to figure out exactly why this terrible accident occurred.

Among the possible causes that are being looked into, one has a raised a few eyebrows. Over the summer there have been two accidental collisions involving the 7th fleet, and a total of 4 similar incidents this year. This has led some Navy officials to suspect that a cyber attack may have been responsible for the crash, as well as other recent Naval accidents.

The Navy has not ruled out an intentional action behind the latest deadly collision between a Navy destroyer and a merchant ship, the chief of naval operations told reporters Monday.


“That’s is certainly something we are giving full consideration to but we have no indication that that’s the case—yet,” Adm. John Richardson, the CNO, said at the Pentagon.


“But we’re looking at every possibility, so we’re not leaving anything to chance,” he said.


Asked if that includes the possibility the electronic defenses on the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain were hacked in a cyber attack, Richardson said investigators will look into all possible causes.


“We’ll take a look at all of that, as we did with the Fitzgerald,” the four-star admiral said, referring to another Navy warship collision with a merchant ship in June near Japan.

So far the Navy has made it clear that there currently isn’t any evidence that the neither USS McCain, nor any other naval vessel, has suffered from a cyber attack. However, there are quite a few top notch cyber security experts who think that all of these collisions probably have something in common.

“There’s something more than just human error going on because there would have been a lot of humans to be checks and balances,” Jeff Stutzman, an ex-information warfare specialist in the Navy, who now works at a cyber threat intelligence company, told McClatchyDC.


“When you are going through the Strait of Malacca, you can’t tell me that a Navy destroyer doesn’t have a full navigation team going with full lookouts on every wing and extra people on radar,” he said.


Itay Glick, the founder of cyber security firm Votiro, told that the possibility of cyber interference was the first thing that came to his mind when he heard about the incident.


“I don’t believe in coincidence,” Glick told the website.


“Both USS McCain and USS Fitzgerald were part of the 7th Fleet, there is a relationship between these two events and there may be a connection,” he added.

The only other question that remains is, if these collisions were caused by cyber attacks, who is responsible? One likely culprit seems to be China. For years the Chinese government has complained about the US Navy’s presence in the South China Sea, which they claim as their territorial waters. In fact, following the USS McCain’s accident, the Global Times, which is effectively a mouthpiece of the government, claimed that Chinese citizens were celebrating the collision.

It’s also important to consider the fact that many US Naval vessels are riddled with counterfeit parts from China. A Senate led investigation in 2012 found that our ships contained over a million counterfeit parts, mostly of Chinese origin. Obviously, this raises the possibility that the Chinese government may have used black markets to secretly funnel parts to the US Navy, which contain backdoors that are easily exploitable.

But perhaps what’s most telling, is how a state-run Chinese media outlet responded to the USS McCain collision, by suggesting that the US Navy has become a dangerous presence for commercial shipping in the South China Sea.

BEIJING (Reuters) – The U.S. navy’s latest collision at sea, the fourth in its Pacific fleet this year, shows it is becoming an increasing risk to shipping in Asia despite its claims of helping to protect freedom of navigation, an official Chinese newspaper said…


…The state-run China Daily said in an editorial on Tuesday that people will wonder why such a sophisticated navy keeps having these problems.


“The investigations into the latest collision will take time to reach their conclusions, but there is no denying the fact that the increased activities by U.S. warships in Asia-Pacific since Washington initiated its rebalancing to the region are making them a growing risk to commercial shipping,” it said.

There’s no proof that China has been hacking our ships, but the possibility can’t be ruled out.

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DinduNuffin's picture

more like diversity training errors

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

And this is why we can't win.  Advasaries attack us, and we attack each other.  Exceptional!

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

Why is this not surprising considering the ChiComs steal all of our weapons systems anyway.  Not too mention corporate intellectual property.

HelluvaEngineer's picture

They make the fucking microprocessors!  A back door is not the same thing as a hack.

Regardless of what they find it will all be covered up, some stooge will be blamed, and nothing will be done to fix the back doors.

Joe Davola's picture

Incident investigator's handbook:

1. Operator error

2. Everything else

Thought Processor's picture



Ok, though excercise everyone-


If you can pull this hack off with an object the size of a 'ship' which is only movning say 15 miles per hour, then does that mean that all surrounding objects at any speed are now hackable?


The reaction time needed with an incoming ship is not so great (and perhaps very deceptive as a result), and yet the Navy seems to be vulnerable.  What if you reduce the reaction time to 5 seconds or less (as in say 'wartime')?  


Then what?



skbull44's picture

I guess 'the Russians-hacked-the-election' narrative is wearing thin so some new 'hacking' narrative needs to be invented and why not focus on the Chinese because the US MIC needs plenty of boogeymen to keep those profits rolling...

MisterMousePotato's picture


Twice *is* coincidence.

*Thrice* is Enemy Action.

(Once is happenstance.)

robertsgt40's picture

Obama's emasculation of the US military couldn't have anything to do with it.  In clear daylight there's no excuse.  Maybe the "crow's nest" should be reinstated. 

Crazy Or Not's picture

"If you can pull this hack off with an object the size of a 'ship' ..."

Investigative caviet: However this does not mean...that we will reverse engineer this as a probability elsewhere and reexamine past possible hacking incidents at home and abroad, cos if we did we'd have to confess to various Black Ops...

Freak Car/Plane/Truck/Train/Ship/Crashes
Other Electronic fails with critical infratructure loss / Significant player(s)loss.
Fake Altimiter readings on aircraft military/civilian resulting in death etc etc...

a Smudge by any other name's picture

Your assumptions for speed, reaction time and reaction capability are wildly flawed. Exercise concluded.

Thought Processor's picture



Are they?  How so?


Please add to the conversation by enlightening us.

lew1024's picture

Not any question at all what will happen.

But why blame China?  Who wants to get a war started more than any other group in the world?  Who is in the best position to backdoor our ships? In the best position to know when to stop a warship dead in the water, in the path of a freighter? Who has the satellite tech for all that?

JohninMK's picture

No-one seems to be able to explain how a full watch of human eyes, which would have been placed round the ship,  as they have been for hundreds of years, missed seeing a tanker with navigation lights on bearing down on them.

The computers/radar etc could have been switched off, let alone hacked and this should not have happened.

There is a 'dead in the water steering system failed' line out there, which then worked afterwards but if that was correct why wasn't the ship firing off warning flares and shouting at the tanker over the radio?

Forget technology, this is another monumental fuckup at a human level, just like the Navy reluctantly seems to have admitted on the Fitzgerald.

As the Chinese seems to say, give the USN a wide berth, they don't adhere to the traditional laws of the sea, just that the USN is in the right, get out of our way.

Winston Churchill's picture

You heard of "fly by wire" ?

Naval ships have been steer by wire since at least the 70's ,that was on a RN destroyer back then,there is an emergency manual helm,or

was, but it may have been done away with as a relic or to make room for a ladies toilet..

Publicus_Reanimated's picture

Try again, Winnie.  In a busy shipping channel there is a full watch on the bridge including helmsman at the wheel and a second in after steering.

Winston Churchill's picture

You saying the manual emergency helm was manned as well ?

I doubt that unless GQ was piped.

Not tthat would make a difference in their sealed compartments if someone was spoofing con orders.

PorscheNoSub's picture

Just heard on the radio an ABC news segment that said, quickly right before ending into a commercial, there was a report of "loss of steering" 3 minutes before the collision. 


I was also just thinking about what you said about by-wire and hoped the situation wasn't like a failed TPS sensor on my car that would randomly rev the engine to 2000 RPM when it was failing... while I was driving. Gotta love unintended accelerations in traffic. This was in 2011 on a 2009 model and there wasn't any mechanical linkage from the accelerator pedal to the throttle.  


Even if there is a manual backup now, which I also agree its existence has some degree of doubt, would they react fast enough? 

Georgiabelle's picture

There are articles out there claiming that this collision, as well as three other PACCOM ship "mishaps", were caused by GPS spoofing. There is also a rumor out there that this is why Professor Mehta had all his accounts shut down by Google, with no explanation or apparent cause. Professor Mehta had said he was going to do a statistical analysis of the probability of 4 PACCOM warships, the USS John S. McCain, the USS Antietam, USS Lake Champlain, and the USS Fitzgerald, all colliding with merchant vessels or running aground...since January 31, 2017. Shortly after he posted the comment all his accounts were suspended.

cougar_w's picture

I'll go with the "GPS spoofing" theory. But it doesn't explain why there were no crew on watch noticing a collision in the works. Maybe the Navy has got all modern and shit, don't need no stinking crew top-side everyone back to playing video games.

Georgiabelle's picture

The GPS on both the US ship and the merchant vessel are taken over and "spoofed" so that both ships' instruments indicate that the other ship is taking corrective measures, when in fact they are not. The AIS marine tracking log of the Alnic MC, the merchant vessel that rammed the  USS John S. McCain, shows bizarre maneuvers and sudden course changes. The same is true of the tracking logs for the MV ACX Crystal, the vessel that collided with the USS Fitzgerald in June. Further, on June 22 the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a warning titled “2017-005A-GPS Interference-Black Sea” that stated: “A maritime incident has been reported in the Black Sea in the vicinity of position 44-15.7N, 037-32.9E on June 22, 2017 at 0710 GMT. This incident has not been confirmed. The nature of the incident is reported as GPS interference. Exercise caution when transiting this area. Further updates may follow.”

Someone is deliberately doing this. The question is who and why. It is an act of war.



gladih8r's picture

Did they hack their radars too?  I mean GPS is easy to spoof, radars require more sophistication and resources to spoof effectively.

francis scott falseflag's picture

one of many conspiracy theories

If the Russians or Chinese can get into the actual steering of another ship, then what we

may be seeing is a US destroyer, at a greater speed ,overtaking a slower, larger merchant

vessel on the starboard side.  When the destroyer reaches a certain point relative to the 

merchant, the hack causes the destroyer to make a hard turn to port.


Hitting the crew's quarters both times can only mean that the US naval radar and automatic

navigation has been hacked to a fare-thee-well.

francis scott falseflag's picture

Only a Pentagon troll or an extreme naif would have linked me to the crap you did.  Shev Shalev at "Operation Battleship".  

Wasn't he the Israeli radio officer who swore on his mothers grave that he overheard two Syrian army officers take

credit for the Syrian gas attack at Ghouta on August 21, 2013?    You must remember that false Israeli claim

made 4 years ago today?


"The 600-ft Liberian flagged oil tanker Alnic MC smashed into the warship’s rear left. The “rear-end collision” is an indicator the US vessel was not at fault."

OH YEAH! take a look at this photo, buster.  Do you know what the word 'midship'


You can move the photo all the way past the stern of the McCain, if you still don't know what admidships means.

The puncture of the McCain isn't more than 40 feet aft of where the Fitzgerald was hit.  

Hardy "rear left".  Hardly "rear end collision". Hardly absolving the McCain of fault of not

yielding to a ship on its starboard.


But enough about you, Georgiabelle.  You're nothing but a US Navy troll.

Ha Ha, dude.    If you a joo, you're on an anti semitic web site.  But I'm

sure you knew.     Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Contributors to article

 Itay Glick, a cybersecurity expert and former Israeli intelligence agent 

 Jeff Stutzman, chief intelligence officer at Wapack Labs




francis scott falseflag's picture

Probably fake news from the MSM.

Naturally the Pentagon wants the world to think it was the merchant ships that were 

under foreign control and NOT US naval warships.

Georgiabelle's picture

Both ships were under foreign control. The merchant vessel's systems were taken over to cause it to ram the US Navy ship. The US Navy ship's systems were showing that the merchant vessel was not on a collision course, indicating that their radar and other systems had been taken over as well. It would only work if both ships were being controlled. Otherwise the Navy ship would fire on the advancing merchant ship after warning it off didnt work. 

francis scott falseflag's picture

Well, bend the knee, Belle, and kiss your southern ass good-bye

Georgiabelle's picture

Why would my ass be in jeopardy? Also, I'm not a Southerner. Born in the midwest, now live "out west".  Chose the name as a joke, and for misdirection. 

francis scott falseflag's picture

I meant no disrespect by calling your ass southern.

If Russia and China can take over the control of both merchant 

naval vessels and the idiots in the Pentagon continue to press 

for conflict, and Putin maintains his stance about 'escalating',

then aren't both our asses in harms way? 

jaxville's picture

   Nonsense.....How typical.....blame someone else for your own incompetence.

Braindonor1's picture

The plot showing the straight line course followed by the John S. McCain that led to the collision would seem to support your point.

I would like to hear from an experienced merchant seaman on this, but it seems to me that plotting and sailing a straight line through/across highly travelled shipping lanes is a move borne of hubris and stupidity.

francis scott falseflag's picture

"missed seeing a tanker with navigation lights on bearing down on them."

But doesn't cruising speed of a destroyer vs a tanker mean that the destroyer was

bearing down on the tanker?  All the sailors on the McCain assume that their radar

sees the tanker and is navigating the ship to avoid the tanker?  


So if Khibiny can not only disable Aegis radar, but set a course a few degrees more port,

and if Russia is watching the two ships from satellites and it's night, maybe....  

Or is it just a coincidence?


Yep, just a coincidence.  We'll relieve Aucoin of command and that i'll be that.

jaxville's picture

It's a matter of vectors.  If you are moving and another object is moving and your paths will cross, you are only on a collision course if the angle of the objects relative to their paths remain constant.  That is why you may observe little pipes on rails where lookouts are stationed.  The lookout would sight the other ship through the pipe and lock the pipe in place.  After a few minutes the lookout would then look through the pipe.  If he can see the other ship is still centered in his view through the pipe he would alert the helm or his co that they are on a collision course. 

  The one caveat is that speeds remain constant.  Merchant ships generally cruise at a speed which gives the best efficiency.  The report of the merchant ship varying it's speed and heading sounds pretty bunko to me.

   Make all the excuses or speculation you want but if the ships were visible to each other it is exclusively human error that results in collisions.

francis scott falseflag's picture

It's not just a matter of vectors, its a matter of speed and distance from the point of impact.  

The instigator must play it as it lays.  Like the break at the beginning of a game of pool.  


There are a thousand and one reasons these collisions could have happened, but after two of

the identicle collisions in two weeks, a thousand of them have been eliminated.  A chess player

may have a brilliant offensive, but if his opponent's pieces or his opponnts defense are not right,

he can't use it.


For these collisions to work, the naval vessel and the merchant must be on almost parallel

courses with the warship behind the merchant.  The merchant must be on the warships

starboard.  It must be night or foggy.  The trailing warship must move within so many

yards of the merchant and when its bow comes within so many yards of the merchant's bow,

Khibiny 2.0 must hack a hard move to starboard.  Which would be unable to be reversed for

a few minutes.


Someone has an algo for this and has satellites constantly looking out for those combinations of

the situations.


The US has just lost 17 sailors, while the Russians have lost 9 ambassadors this year, some,

no doubt, by genuine illness..  Their Russian ambassador, coincidently drowned, at a

coincidental moment. Like most of the US sailors.

The ambassador could have been drowned at the hands of Mossad, as revenge for the

drowned sailors.  Why the ambassador to Sudan?  How many Russian Ambassadors

have private swimming pools?  Not many, I'll bet.


If the drowning was intentional, it tells Putin that the US ( and other ICs) knows the

cause of the the two collisions. Khibiny 2.0 is hardly the last arrow in Russia's

electronics weapons quiver. I expect more naval (or aircraft )accidents (not like

Fitzgerald and McCain) in the next few days. 


 "Make all the excuses or speculation you want but if the ships were visible to

 each other it is exclusively human error that results in collisions"

How much less visable to each other are ships at night and in foggy or misty weather?

How much less efficient is a look-out on watch at 4am than at 2pm?  How much less

motivated is a look-out on a warship equiped with the Aegis radar system than on a

warship with ordinary radar?

Buck Johnson's picture

Exactly, exactly, this wasn't a hack.  I was in the navy and there is no way that this was hacked.  You see normally they have a watch (full watch) that is on the bridge (including the officer in charge that shift), watches on the radar and sonar and radio and other systems and then watches on (port, starboard, bow and stern).  They say it's to much of a coincidence that there has been more than one event of this type in the same fleet', so it must be nefarious enemy. 

Wrong, it could be something else and that is the 7th fleet and many of her commanders and essentially the crews (remember how the capt and staff are it flows down to the crew) are fucking up.  Meaning that they are being laxed and sleeping and when the chiefs and crew see this they start to not do their jobs as well also.  From leaving certain watches unmanned and/or just not having anyone, to having someone or the whole radar/sonar dept. off sleeping/sex or whatever.

It's not hacking, it's incompetence pure and simple.  There are to many analog (meaning people and other systems) that are designed to be operated with a PERSON at the console or in position.  And if that is the case with hacking (which it's not) they didn't hack the starboard watch person who is in position to see or the port. 


sushi's picture

Agreed this is unlikely to be a hack or backdoor or spoofing.


THis is the equivalent of standing in the Freeway with a fleet of 18 wheelers bearing down on you and you are staring at your cell phone GPS readout.

After being run over you then complain your GPS was spoofed, your cellphone hacked and your ass backdoored.

Only in the US navy would this set of excuses be possible.

Georgiabelle's picture

Really? Over twenty ships saiing in the Black Sea all had their GPSs showing that they were currently inland, parked at an airport. Explain that in terms of navigator incompetence.  

Conscious Reviver's picture

Sorry Bucko. If they shut you down and shut your engines down while the tanker is bearing down on your now fixed position, you are fawked.

Check the hole. No shear damage. McCain was dead in the water. In fact, the Al Jazeera piece that accompanied the original ZH article on this had an expert with an accent saying the boat was stopped when hit.

The only question I have is why the watch did not get everyone they could on deck with life jackets on. Maybe the guys crushed were doing essential work... Like trying to get the engines going?

Crush the cube's picture

To many port calls with revolving hooker bars and booze buffets in that part of the world?  That right there tells a story of command failure.

TheReplacement's picture

Perhaps the ship was dead in the water and unable to do anything that involved electronics.  Perhaps the tanker skipper was also not in control of his ship.  There are a lot of unknowns that we don't know we don't know, in addition to the unknowns we do know we don't know.

Sadly this will not be investigated in the light of day so we may have to live another 75 years before the truth comes out, isn't that right Mr. Warren?

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

True, but it likely takes a hack to exploit the backdoor.  The chip has a special (or unknown) instruction in the instruction set and voila!

BennyBoy's picture


These navy idiots were spoofed/hacked/virused.

More of the same to come.

Navy is now useless. Thanks MIC!

MrPalladium's picture

Surface vessels are useless relics of WW2 even if they are not hacked. All gone in two days in a real war against China/Russia. Just pray that our submarines and the nuclear missiles on board are not also infected with hackable chips. Getting nukes on target might be a whole lot more difficult that most people imagine.

flapdoodle's picture

Actually, the microprocessors are likely made in (((Israel))) by Intel...

z530's picture

The fact that the US uses parts sourced from China is a completely ridiculous. Any part that is needed in US military applications should be built in the US. The US goverment is prohibited from buying Huiwei products, why is this any different? 

Conscious Reviver's picture

... is completely ridiculous.

Yeah but it's too late. Send all that hardware to the scrap heap and start over. A Krugman wet dream. Winning.