The director of the FBI, the United States’ national investigative agency, Christopher Wray, issued a serious warning on Wednesday (31) about the imminent nefarious activity of Chinese hackers aimed at the United States.
According to him, cyber criminals are preparing to “cause havoc and harm in the real world” in American infrastructure. This concern comes at a critical time of heightened tensions between the US and China.
Growing fears of China’s offensive cyber capabilities
Previous concerns have been expressed about China’s aggressive cyber capabilities. However, Wray’s public warning underscores the severity of the threat that Chinese hackers pose to vital infrastructure across America. Other senior officials at the US National Security Agency have also spoken out about Chinese cyber activity.
Real threat to physical security
Highlighting the extent of the threat, Wray highlighted that Chinese hackers were targeting various US infrastructure, such as water treatment plants, electrical infrastructure and gas pipelines. “Cyber threats to our critical infrastructure pose real-world threats to our physical security“, he warned. The Chinese government, however, rejected these accusations.
Efforts to mitigate tension between the US and China
Recent House hearings have seen major efforts by American and Chinese officials to ease tensions in the relationship between the two superpowers. In November last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured US President Joe Biden that China would not interfere in the 2024 US elections.
American officials, meanwhile, are watching to see whether Xi will keep his word. “Many things have been promised by China over the years, so I believe [apenas] when it happens“Wray said. The situation is remaining tense, with the US preparing for the worst while waiting for the situation to improve.