U.S. Disrupts China-Backed Hacking Operation Targeting Critical Infrastructure

The U.S. government has announced its disruption of a China-backed hacking operation aimed at critical infrastructure, highlighting growing concerns over potential cyber threats posed by Beijing.

During a House committee hearing on cyber threats from China, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned of China’s intent to cause “real-world harm” to Americans in the event of a conflict. He described the activities of a China-backed hacking group, Volt Typhoon, as a significant threat to U.S. infrastructure, particularly in anticipation of conflict over Taiwan.

Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. cybersecurity agency CISA, emphasized the vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure to attacks by Chinese threat actors. Easterly outlined the potential risks, including disruptions to pipelines, telecommunications, water facilities, and transportation systems.

Volt Typhoon, known for espionage and information gathering, has been identified as a key player in China’s cyber operations. The U.S. operation in December disrupted a China-controlled botnet consisting of compromised routers, severing their connection to Chinese hackers.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland underscored the commitment to dismantling malicious cyber operations, particularly those sponsored by foreign governments. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an advisory urging device manufacturers to enhance router security.

Amid escalating concerns, the FBI and CISA have previously warned about the risks associated with Chinese-manufactured drones to critical infrastructure and national security. These developments reflect heightened efforts to mitigate cyber threats and safeguard U.S. interests against foreign adversaries.

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