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China’s cyber army invading critical U.S. services like power grids, water utilities – report

China vows to ramp up anti-hacking protections
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China’s cyber army is invading critical U.S. services like the power grid, ports, pipelines, and water utilities, according to U.S. officials and security experts in the industry, The Washington Post reported.

China’s cyber army invading U.S. services has hacked two dozen entities in the past year

Hackers linked to China’s People’s Liberation Army have infiltrated the computer systems of around two dozen crucial entities in the past year, according to these industry experts.

These cyber intrusions are part of a broader plan to find ways to create panic, chaos, or disrupt logistics in case of a conflict between the U.S. and China in the Pacific, as per their statements.

Among the targets are a water utility in Hawaii, a major West Coast port, and at least one oil and gas pipeline, according to individuals familiar with the incidents, as reported by The Washington Post. The hackers also tried to hack into the operator of Texas’s power grid, which operates independently from the electrical systems in the rest of the country.

Hackers have targeted several entities outside the United States, including electric utilities, according to individuals who spoke anonymously due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“It is very clear that Chinese attempts to compromise critical infrastructure are in part to pre-position themselves to be able to disrupt or destroy that critical infrastructure in the event of a conflict, to either prevent the United States from being able to project power into Asia or to cause societal chaos inside the United States — to affect our decision-making around a crisis,” said Brandon Wales, executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“That is a significant change from Chinese cyber activity from seven to 10 years ago that was focused primarily on political and economic espionage.”

Cyber intrusions and strategic implications amidst U.S.-China tensions

U.S. officials clarified that none of the cyber intrusions impacted industrial control systems responsible for critical functions like pumps or pistons, and they did not cause any disruptions.

However, the focus on Hawaii, which houses the Pacific Fleet, and at least one port along with logistics centers, indicates that the Chinese military aims to complicate U.S. efforts to transport troops and equipment to the region in case of a conflict over Taiwan.

These newly revealed details contribute to a better understanding of a cyber campaign known as the Volt Typhoon, initially identified about a year ago by the U.S. government. This revelation comes at a time when the relationship between the United States and China is more strained than it has been in decades.

Chinese military commanders refrained from communicating with their American counterparts for over a year, even as encounters between Chinese fighter jets and U.S. spy planes in the western Pacific increased significantly. It was only last month that President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to reinstate those communication channels.


About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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