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FBI Warns of Risk of Chinese Hack Attack on Energy Infrastructure

The director of the FBI has warned that the Chinese state has its sights set on U.S. critical infrastructure to compromise U.S. economic and national security.

Speaking at the Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats, Christopher Wray said “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.”

The head of the FBI also explained that the Chinese state has taken a hybrid approach to its efforts to weaken the United States, involving cybersecurity, counterintelligence, and crime.

The motivation for these efforts, according to Wray, was based on “driven by the CCP’s aspirations to wealth and power,” and the desire to “seize economic development in the areas most critical to tomorrow’s economy,” including through illegal means, such as theft.

With regard to critical infrastructure specifically, Wren said “The fact is, the PRC’s targeting of our critical infrastructure is both broad and unrelenting.”

“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,” the head of the FBI also said.

Wray referred to an ongoing hack attack dubbed Volt Typhoon which had opened up access for the hackers to a number of U.S. companies including pipeline operators. China, however, has denied any connection to Volt Typhoon, which Beijing said was a ransomware group, per a Reuters report.

“Some in the US have been using origin-tracing of cyberattacks as a tool to hit and frame China, claiming the US to be the victim while it’s the other way round, and politicizing cybersecurity issues,” the Chinese embassy in Washington said, as quoted by Reuters.

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