FBI director Christopher Wray claims Chinese hackers waiting for ‘right moment’ to attack US infrastructure - Hindustan Times
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FBI director Christopher Wray claims Chinese hackers waiting for ‘right moment’ to attack US infrastructure

BySumanti Sen
Apr 19, 2024 12:19 PM IST

FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that Chinese-linked hackers are now lying in wait to attack US infrastructure at “the right moment"

FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that Chinese-linked hackers are now lying in wait to attack US infrastructure at “the right moment.” Wray recently spoke at the 2024 Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats, suggesting that federal authorities are trying to counter the threat, which is “upon us now.”

FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that Chinese hackers are waiting for the ‘right moment’ to attack US infrastructure (REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy)(REUTERS)
FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that Chinese hackers are waiting for the ‘right moment’ to attack US infrastructure (REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy)(REUTERS)

“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] has made it clear that it considers every sector that makes our society run as fair game in its bid to dominate on the world stage, and that its plan is to land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic and break America’s will to resist,” he said at the Nashville event, according to the FBI website.

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What did Christopher Wray say?

Wray specifically said that China may be interested in ensuring there are countermeasures for a “crisis between China and Taiwan by 2027.” He suggested that China has been working to rob “intellectual property, technology, and research” from major American industry, including as many as 23 pipeline operators.

“The fact is, the PRC’s targeting of our critical infrastructure is both broad and unrelenting,” he said. “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.”

Citing an example, Wray recounted an incident when Chinese-tied hackers launched a cyberattack that seemingly targeted infrastructure controls, instead of financial data. “It took the hackers all of 15 minutes to steal data related to the control and monitoring systems, while ignoring financial and business-related information, which suggests their goals were even more sinister than stealing a leg up economically,” he said.

Law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies are reportedly working together to prevent these attacks. “We’ve seen the best outcomes in situations where a company made a habit of reaching out to their local FBI field office even before there was any indication of a problem because that put everyone on the same page and contributed to the company’s readiness,” Wray said.

Wray issued a similar warning during a House Select Committee in February this year. At the time, he had warned that Chinese-tied hackers could target the electrical grid, oil and natural gas pipelines, transportation systems, and American water treatment plants.

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