FBI Director Says China’s Cyber Threats to U.S. Critical Infrastructure Are the “Defining Threat to Our Generation”

    Protecting the US from China's cyber threats is crucial. FBI Director warns of potential chaos and casualties. Learn about the urgent call for action to defend critical infrastructure.

    2 Minutes Read

     “China's hackers are positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real world harm to American citizens and communities.” – Christopher Wray, FBI Director 

    A committee of top officials from the FBI, NSA, and CISA gave an urgent warning on the escalating cyber threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to US critical infrastructure.  

    The committee discussed the potential implications of targeting American critical infrastructure in a cyberwarfare context. The witnesses unanimously agreed on the gravity of this threat, with a particular emphasis on the role that outdated or vulnerable technology plays in allowing such attacks to occur.

    Key Points: 

    • China is actively attacking the U.S.
      • China has been conducting cyber attacks on US government agencies, defense contractors, and technology firms - stealing valuable technology and gathering sensitive information for over 20 years.
    • China’s target is our critical infrastructure.
      • China has now shifted its focus to targeting critical infrastructure, aiming to disrupt or destroy American infrastructure in the event of a conflict, causing chaos and potential casualties.
    • Public and Private Sector collaboration is key to defending against attacks.
      • Defending against cyber threats requires a united front between the public and private sectors. A layered cyber deterrence strategy is crucial to prevent significant harm.
    • An increase in Government cyber vigilance is coming.
      • Government agencies, such as the National Cyber Director, FBI, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, are actively working to protect the nation from Chinese cyber threats. Their efforts include identifying and eradicating intrusions, providing resources to critical infrastructure owners, and enhancing cybersecurity measures.
    • Action must be taken NOW.
      • Officials urged that immediate action is crucial to enhance cybersecurity. Individuals, businesses, and technology manufacturers must report incidents, establish relationships with cybersecurity agencies, and prioritize security in technology development. 

    “Every CEO, every business leader, every board member of a critical infrastructure owner operator has to see cyber risk as a core business risk. They have to manage it as a matter of good governance and national security." – Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency 

    Strategic Attack on U.S. Critical Infrastructure 

    Director-Wray-FBI-2FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “If and when China decides the time has come to strike, they're not focused just on political and military targets; we can see from where they position themselves across civilian infrastructure that low blows aren't just a possibility in the event of a conflict. Low blows against civilians are part of China's plan." 

    Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Jen Easterly added, "It's an active and direct threat to our homeland, to our military, our ability to surge forces forward in the event of a conflict." 

    The committee discussed the importance of resiliency in the face of the CCP's cyber threats. They noted that while preventative measures are crucial, the U.S. must also be prepared to respond effectively to any cyber-attacks that do occur. This includes boosting cybersecurity measures, implementing robust cyber deterrence strategies, and collaborating closely with both private and public sector partners. 

    "We have to demand more from the most capable actors in cyberspace, including the government, and we must build future systems to be more inherently defensible and resilient." - Harry Coker Jr., U.S. National Cyber Director 


    “We are dealing with malware and water utilities, oil and gas pipelines, power grids, and other utilities in our westernmost territories and across the American homeland. And the damage that could be done by this is almost hard to imagine. We need to step up and defend our critical infrastructure, defend ourselves in cyberspace. It's a critical part of deterrence," stated Director Wray. Director Easterly noted, "Our committee is called the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. It's not just strategic competition but a strategic threat pointed at the heart of America." 

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