Chinese State Hackers Pose Serious Threat to US Infrastructure, Warns Cybersecurity Official
According to a senior U.S. cybersecurity official, Chinese state hackers are likely to launch aggressive cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, such as pipelines and railways, in the event of a conflict with the United States. Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, emphasized China’s significant investment in advancing cybertechnologies aimed at sabotaging U.S. infrastructure. She warned that China would use cyber operations to disrupt military deployment and induce societal panic.
Easterly highlighted the shift in China’s focus from espionage to disruption and destruction. While the threat from Chinese state actors is formidable, she acknowledged the difficulty in preventing disruptions due to their capabilities and resources. Building resilience against such attacks is crucial.
Easterly’s warning comes amid escalating bilateral tensions and increasing attention on cyber attacks originating from China. Recently, Microsoft and cybersecurity agencies revealed a Chinese cyber espionage group’s two-year campaign targeting various sectors in the United States, including manufacturing, telecommunications, government, maritime, utility, transportation, and education.
The campaign aimed to develop capabilities to disrupt critical communications infrastructure between the United States and Asia during future crises. The group intends to perform espionage and maintain undetected access for as long as possible. The United States and its intelligence partners have warned that the group can target other sectors worldwide using similar tactics.
The Chinese regime has invested significantly in cyber warfare. FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that Chinese hackers outnumber FBI cyber personnel by at least 50 to 1. He considers communist Beijing to be the greatest threat to the country, with FBI investigations into the Chinese Communist Party and its actors increasing by 1,300 percent.
Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike’s latest report reveals that China-linked cyber-espionage groups are targeting 39 industries across nearly every continent. While many of these campaigns focus on China, the threat extends globally.
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