FBI Warns Chinese Hackers Poised to “Wreak Havoc” on Critical US Infrastructure

FBI Director Christopher Wray has issued a stark warning about the potential for Chinese hackers to launch devastating attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States.

In his remarks at the 2024 Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats, Wray cautioned that these hackers are positioning themselves to “physically wreak havoc” on essential systems at a time of their choosing.

The hacking campaign, dubbed Volt Typhoon, has successfully infiltrated several American companies in vital sectors such as telecommunications, energy, and water.

According to Wray, the hackers’ objective is to “land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic.”

However, the Chinese government has denied any involvement in the Volt Typhoon campaign.

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A spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed the hackers are part of a criminal ransomware group and have no connection to the government.

The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. further accused the United States of politicizing cybersecurity issues and using them as a tool to “hit and frame China.”

Despite these denials, both Microsoft and Google security experts have previously linked the hackers to China.

Wray also suggested that the hacking efforts are connected to the ongoing tensions between the United States and China regarding Taiwan.

This is not the first time Wray has sounded the alarm about the Chinese hacking threat.

In February, he testified before the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, warning that Chinese hackers aim to “wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities.”

He emphasized the need for greater public attention on the fact that hackers from the People’s Republic of China are targeting critical infrastructure, including water treatment plants, electrical grids, oil and natural gas pipelines, and transportation systems.

Wray further asserted that Chinese hackers are “actively attacking our economic security” on a daily basis, engaging in the theft of innovation, personal data, and corporate information.

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He also accused them of targeting the freedoms of American citizens and residents by reaching inside U.S. borders to “silence, coerce, and threaten.”