The United States is facing a growing threat from Chinese government hackers who are targeting critical infrastructure such as water treatment plants, the power grid, transportation systems, and more. FBI Director Chris Wray recently issued a warning to House lawmakers about Beijing’s global ambitions and its aggressive cyber activities within the US.
According to Wray, China’s hackers are actively positioning themselves within American infrastructure in preparation for potential attacks that could cause real-world damage to American citizens and communities. This poses a significant risk to national security and public safety.
Wray’s comments were echoed by Jen Easterly, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity arm, who emphasized that a major crisis on the other side of the world could endanger lives in the US through disruption of pipelines, telecommunications, water facilities, and transportation modes.
These warnings align with assessments from cybersecurity firms like Microsoft, which reported that state-backed Chinese hackers have been attacking critical US infrastructure. This includes laying the technical foundation for possible disruptions of critical communications between the US and Asia during future crises.
In response to these threats, federal law enforcement officials announced that they had taken down a botnet of hundreds of U.S.-based home and small office routers owned by private citizens and businesses. These routers were hijacked by Chinese state agencies to cover their tracks while planting malware.
The Justice Department also obtained search and seizure warrants in Texas to halt an operation attributed to a hacking group known as Volt Typhoon. The hackers infiltrated their targets through multiple avenues including internet and cloud providers while disguising themselves as normal traffic.
While there is ongoing concern about these cyber threats from China, U.S. officials have become more aggressive in seeking to disrupt and dismantle both criminal and state-backed cyber operations. However, state-backed hackers are adept at adapting and finding new methods of intrusion.
China has denied these accusations from the US government but concerns persist about hackers hiding within U.S.-based infrastructure. Gen. Paul Nakasone stated that responsible cyber actors do not attack civilian infrastructure or engage in unauthorized intrusions into sensitive networks.
This issue has garnered attention from Congress with the creation of a House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party chaired by Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. The committee aims to counter China’s influence globally but has faced backlash from Beijing which demands that members “discard their ideological bias.”
As tensions continue to escalate between the US and China over cybersecurity concerns, it is evident that safeguarding critical infrastructure against foreign cyber threats remains a top priority for national security agencies.
Source: According to source.