Thursday, June 20, 2024

FBI says Chinese hackers are inside US infrastructure to cause ‘devastating blow’

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Chinese state-sponsored hackers have conducted widespread cyberattacks on critical American infrastructure in recent years, intending to give the country the ability to cause “a devastating blow” against the US, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“The fact is, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] targeting of our critical infrastructure is both broad and unrelenting,” he told a security conference in Nashville on Thursday, describing China’s hacking programme as growing in strength.

“It’s using that mass, those numbers, to give itself the ability to physically wreak havoc on our critical infrastructure at a time of its choosing,” he added.

Last year, security analysts at Microsoft identified mysterious code linked to communications systems in Guam, the US territory in the Pacific with a massive strategic air base.

Officials believe the code was the work of Volt Typhoon, a Chinese state-sponsored hacking group.

Volt Typhoon sought to target vulnerabilities in electric grids, shipping ports, and water infrastructure, among other systems, according to intelligence experts.

The FBI said in January it had removed hacks from hundreds of devices.

Security officials have spent the intervening months warning about Volt Typhoon and hunting out the remnants of its malicious code.

This March, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned that the hacking group sought the “disruption or destruction of critical services in the event of increased geopolitical tensions and/or military conflict with the United States and its allies.”

However, federal agencies are “not done with efforts to uncover or eradicate” the group’s work, Rob Joyce, th, e outgoing director of the NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate, said that month.

China denies supporting cyberattacks against the US and has accused the US and its allies of cyberattacks of their own.

“It is pure political maneuvering by the US and the UK, to once again hype up the so-called cyberattacks by China and to sanction Chinese individuals and entities,” Lin Jian of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in March. “We urge the US and the UK to stop politicising cybersecurity issues, stop smearing and imposing sanctions on China, and to put an end to their own cyber aggression against China. “

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