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    FBI Director Warns of Chinese Hackers Preparing to “Wreak Havoc” on U.S. Infrastructure

    The FBI has recently been warning of potential threats from Chinese hackers planning to disrupt the US critical infrastructure. FBI director Christopher Wray, speaking at the 2024 Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats, expressed concerns about these cyberattacks, stating, "Its plan is to land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic."

    The alleged threat appears to be linked to a group known as Volt Typhoon. However, a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sought to distance the government from this group, asserting that it is a criminal ransomware group with no connections to the Chinese government.

    Security experts at Microsoft and Google have previously linked the hackers to China, and FBI Director Wray confirmed that the effort is connected to U.S.-Chinese tensions around Taiwan. Furthermore, Wray provided a similar warning to lawmakers on Capitol Hill in February, stating that Chinese hackers intend to "wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities." He was testifying in front of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party for a hearing titled "The Chinese Community Party Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security."

    The situation has escalated tensions between the US and China over cybersecurity issues. The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. has accused some in the U.S. of using the origin-tracing of cyberattacks as a tool to discredit China. They claim the U.S. is positioning itself as the victim, when, according to them, the reality is quite the opposite. The embassy accuses the U.S. of politicizing cybersecurity issues, further straining relations between the two countries.

    Wray highlighted the lack of public focus on the fact that PRC [People’s Republic of China] hackers are targeting the critical infrastructure of the U.S. – including water treatment plants, the electrical grid, oil and natural gas pipelines, and transportation systems. He emphasized that the risk this poses to every American requires immediate attention.

    In this digital age, the threat of cyberattacks is ever-present. The current scenario between the U.S and China serves as a stark reminder of the real-world implications of cyber warfare, and the urgent need for international cooperation in this arena.

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    Photo by Alejandro Luengo

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