Key Asset and Threat Identification

 Key Asset Identification

The Newport News Shipbuilding Company, located in Newport News City, Virginia is a critical infrastructure site. The facility is strategically located in one of the East Coast’s great harbors and spans more than 2.2km2 (550 acres). Newport News is United States’ sole nuclear-powered carriers’ designer, builder, as well as a refueler. It is one of the two shipyards with the capacity to design and construct nuclear-powered submarines. It as well provides naval ships with fleet services. The aircraft carrier serves as a sea-going airbase for the navy and is armed with facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, as well as recovering aircraft. It enables the navy to project air power throughout the world without dependence on local bases to stage aircraft operations.

Key Asset details:

                          i.         Name: Newport News Shipbuilding

                         ii.         Location: 4101 Washington Avenue

                        iii.         City: Newport News

                        iv.         State: Virginia

                         v.         Country: United States of America

                        vi.         Critical Infrastructure Sector: Defense Industrial Base Sector. This is the global industrial complex, which facilities research & development, design, development, delivery, well as maintenance of military weaponry systems, subsystems, & components to meet the requirements of the United States military. It partners components of the Department of Defense, over 100,000 Defense industrial base organizations, and their subcontractors that work under the Department of Defense and other partners (CISA, 2021). The sector is tasked with providing services and products necessary for mobilizing, deploying, and sustaining military operations. 

                      vii.         Responsible Federal Agency: Department of Defense

                     viii.         Why the asset was chosen & how it qualifies as critical infrastructure: The facility is a shipyard with the capacity to design and construct nuclear-powered submarines and enables the U.S Navy to deter aggression, maintain sea freedom, and win wars (Spencer, R, 2020).

Threat Identification

Newport News Shipbuilding hit with fine following steelworker's death -  Daily Press

Fig: Aerial View of Newport News Shipbuilding

Terrorist Groups

According to GTD, there has never been a terrorist attack on Newport News Shipbuilding. Only two attacks have occurred near the facility and the closest was at an abortion center at Newport News city perpetrated by abortion extremists.  This did not cause any large-scale disruption and no global-scale terrorist activity has been a factor against Newport News Shipyard.

Crime, on the other hand, near the shipyard is very high. These include crimes involving violence and property. Newport News is safer than only 14% of United States’ cities. The crime rate per thousand residents is 30.94, which is relatively high (Newport News, 2021). On the other hand, it is unlikely that such crime will be linked to terrorist groups.

The other threat that Newport News Shipyard faces is a cyber-attack. One occurred back in 2019at the cloud service used by Newport News Shipyard. The APT10 (Advanced Persistent Threat) group was the perpetrator. This is a Chinese group equivalent to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. The impact could have been devastating as the attack could have created access for the Chinese to classified information like numerous U.S Navy systems like the electronic catapult system, which the Navy is moving to for aircraft launching. The data was also at risk of being corrupted and filled with false data making it problematic in the case of building the ensuing ship system. APT10 could also decide to encrypt such data to prevent its use by the U.S. Navy.

There was another earlier cyber-attack in April 2019 on Hampton Road’s power grid. This is an important power grid, which supplies power to Newport News Shipyard, the Norfolk Naval Station, as well as all the small bases within the area. 

Motivation, Capabilities, & Tactics

APT10 is assumed to be operating under the Tianjin bureau of the State Security Ministry of the Chinese (The United States Department of Justice, 2018).

Existence: APT10 or Red Apollo is a cyber-attack group sponsored by state

History: the group penetrated not less than 45 technology organizations globally back in 2006 to steal technological intelligence for the benefit of the Chinese State.

Intention: the group is interested in stealing technological advances o enhance Chinese companies’ competitiveness. No indications that the group’s actions are meant to further weapons of mass destruction.

Capability: the group has sufficient resources to finance its cyber-attack actions. It is government-sanctioned, which gives it huge capabilities.

Targeting: it uses cyber-attack tactics to penetrate sensitive computer systems and steal large data from the U.S defense system. 

Threat Level

THREAT FACTORSThreat Level (1–10)Motivation P = Political R = Religious E = Environmental Ra = Racial S = Special Interest (Choose one or more)WMD Categories C = Chemical B = Biological R = Radiological N = Nuclear E = Explosive (Choose one or more)
PTEExistence (1)Violent History (1)Intentions (2)WMD Capability (2)Targeting (4)
1101041P, S0

The threat level above demonstrates that APT10 will still carry out cyber-attacks on cyber networks. The group is a government project with the aim of stealing technological secrets. Nothing indicates that the group has an interest in weapons of mass destruction or carrying out violent terrorist attacks.

Cyber-attacks are not coming to an end any time soon considering the technological advances occurring in the world today. Shipbuilding cannot walk away from the threat of cyber-attacks since it must utilize computer technology to build competitive and efficient naval carriers. Shipbuilding companies have the resources to prevent cyber-attacks, however, new technology emerges each minute, and keeping up with the pace poses a huge challenge. Shipbuilding organizations must spend a lot on mitigating the risk they face.

Cyber-attacks on power grids have occurred in the past. They have crippled operations within the nearby communities. Such a cyber-attack is an indirect method meant to cause damage. It ma not be possible to completely prevent cyber-attacks on power grids. As such, power grid organizations will need to invest heavily in the mitigation of any possible attacks.

References

The United States Deoartment of Justice. (2018). Two Chinese Hackers Associated With the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaigns Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information.

CISA. (2021). Defense Industrial Base Sector. Retrieved 8 15, 2021, from https://www.cisa.gov/defense-industrial-base-sector

Huntington Ingalls Industries. (2021). Newport News Shipbuilding Facts. Retrieved 8 15, 2021, from https://newsroom.huntingtoningalls.com/presskits/newport-news-shipbuilding-facts

Newport News. (2021). Crime Reports . Retrieved 8 15, 2021, from https://www.nnva.gov/2291/Crime-Reports

Spencer, R. (2020). Secretery of the Navy Year 3 Strategic Vision, Goals, and Implementation Guidance: Fiscal Year 20-2023. Department of the Navy.