FBI Director Christopher Wray, appeared before the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Wednesday to testify about the threat of Chinese cyberattacks on American soil.
“China’s multipronged assault on our national and economic security make it the defining threat of our generation,” said Wray “China’s hackers are positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities.”
The Select Committee held its hearing, “The CCP Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security,” at 11am, and included testimony from Wray as well as other cybersecurity experts.
The speakers highlighted the risk to all aspects of American infrastructure posed by CCP hackers.
Chinese hackers are not limited to stealing information or disrupting abstract computer systems.
The CCP is poised to cause harm to “every” American by disrupting the electrical grid, transportation infrastructure, water treatment plants, and oil and gas pipelines.
Wray advocated for greater attention to be placed on the CCP’s hacking capabilities, which he believes have positioned the nation to launch a devastating cyberattack on the U.S. mainland if, or whenever, it chooses.
“There has been far to little public focus on the fact that PRC [People’s Republic of China] hackers are targeting our critical infrastructure,” said Wray “The risk that poses to every American requires our attention.”
Wray highlighted the CCP’s intention to strike against civilian infrastructure in the event of a conflict, not merely against military and political targets.
“We can see from where they position themselves across civilian infrastructure that low-blows aren’t just a possibility in the event of a conflict, low-blows against civilians are part of China’s plan,” said Wray.
The Chinese cyber threat is not limited to a possible future attack on infrastructure, but includes current, ongoing attempts to use espionage to disrupt the American economy, and steal American innovations, according to Wray.
This economic warfare includes attempts to hide evidence of CCP involvement in transactions on American soil.
Perhaps illegal marijuana grows form a part of this strategy?
After summarizing the CCP’s capabilities, Wray pointed to FBI efforts to counter Chinese influence and maintain national security.
One operation which took place Wednesday morning, before the hearing began, identified hundreds of routers used by the CCP sponsored hacking group “Volt Typhoon” to possibly exploit weaknesses in civilian infrastructure.
Wednesday’s meeting is not the first time Wray has tried to make officials aware of the threat posed by CCP hackers.
In April, Wray testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, where he stated that China’s capabilities posed an unparalleled threat.
“There’s no country that presents a more significant threat to our innovation, our ideas, our economic security, our national security than Chinese government,” said Wray.
In that testimony, Wray also raised concerns that the U.S. is far outstripped by China in cyber capabilities, claiming that Chinese hackers vastly outnumber FBI cybersecurity agents, with 50 Chinese hackers to every FBI agent.