FBI Director Christopher Wray warns of China’s cyber threat to US infrastructure - Hindustan Times
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FBI Director Christopher Wray warns Chinese hackers ready to ‘wreak havoc’ on US infrastructure

Feb 01, 2024 08:24 AM IST

With Chinese hackers targeting power, water, and transportation systems, FBI Director Christopher Wray urges Americans to be more vigilant.

FBI Director Christopher Wray issued a stark warning to lawmakers on Wednesday about the cyber threat posed by China. He said that China’s hackers are targeting critical US infrastructure, such as water, power, oil, gas, and transportation systems, and are ready to cause chaos and damage if China decides to launch an attack.

FBI Director, Christopher Wray, testifies during a Congressional full committee hearing on the "The CCP [Chinese Communist Party] Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security" in Washington, DC, January 31, 2024. (Photo by Julia Nikhinson / AFP)(AFP)
FBI Director, Christopher Wray, testifies during a Congressional full committee hearing on the "The CCP [Chinese Communist Party] Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security" in Washington, DC, January 31, 2024. (Photo by Julia Nikhinson / AFP)(AFP)

Wray testified before the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party and said that China’s hackers are “positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real world harm to American citizens and communities if and when China decides the time has come to strike.”

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FBI is outnumbered

He added that China has “a bigger hacking program than that of every major nation combined” and that its hackers outnumber the FBI’s cyber personnel by a ratio of at least 50-to-1. He said that even if the FBI devoted all of its cyber resources to counter China, it would still be outmatched.

Wray said that China’s cyber activities are part of its “multi-pronged assault on our national and economic security” and that it is “the defining threat of our generation.”

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He gave an example of how widespread and sophisticated China’s hacking efforts are by revealing that earlier that day, the FBI and its partners had detected and disrupted “hundreds of routers” that had been compromised by a Chinese hacking group called Volt Typhoon.

Chinese hackers are targeting major US infrastructure

He explained that the Volt Typhoon malware allowed China to conceal, among other things, its “pre-operational reconnaissance and network exploitation against critical infrastructure, like our communications, energy, transportation, and water sectors.”

He said that the malware attack was an attempt by China “to find and prepare to destroy or degrade the civilian critical infrastructure that keeps us safe and prosperous.”

He emphasized that “cyber threats to our critical infrastructure represent real world threats to our physical safety” and that the US must take them seriously.

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Wray’s testimony alarmed Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), who said that he had no doubt that China’s hacking program was preparing for the next major world war.

Wray urged the US to remain vigilant and proactive in defending against China’s cyber aggression.

He said that if the US failed to do so, China would make the US pay a heavy price.

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