FBI: Chinese hackers ‘targeting US infrastructure’

FBI: Chinese hackers ‘targeting US infrastructure’

Lawmakers to be warned about potential for ‘real-world harm’ to power grid, pipelines and transport

Power lines are seen outside of Houston, Texas. (Photo: Reuters)
Power lines are seen outside of Houston, Texas. (Photo: Reuters)

WASHINGTON - Hackers linked to the Chinese government are targeting critical infrastructure in the United States, preparing to cause “real-world harm” to Americans, FBI director Christopher Wray plans to tell a US House of Representatives panel on Wednesday.

Water treatment plants, the electrical grid, oil and natural gas pipelines and transport hubs are among the targets of state-sponsored hacking operations that have received “far too little public focus”, Wray is preparing to testify to the House select committee on competition with China.

“China’s hackers are positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities, if or when China decides the time has come to strike,” he says, according to a partial text of his testimony released by the FBI.

The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is scheduled to make his first appearance before the House China committee at a hearing focused on cyber threats posed by Beijing. He will appear alongside three other top US cyber officials.

Wray’s warning comes a day after Reuters reported that the US government launched an operation in recent months against a Chinese hacking operation, Volt Typhoon, that officials said had been spying on US infrastructure networks.

Wray has repeatedly raised alarms about Chinese government efforts to undermine the United States through espionage campaigns, intellectual property theft and cyberattacks.

The Chinese government has previously accused the United States and its allies of spreading “disinformation” through its accusations against state-sponsored hacking groups.

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