Chinese hackers infiltrate critical US infrastructure systems, signals big trouble for what’s to come: Report

The emboldened communist Chinese are taking attacks against the U.S. to a new level by having hackers affiliated with China’s People’s Liberation Army breach critical infrastructure.

Even worse, the attacks have gone undetected for over a year. Targets included the water utility in Hawaii, a port on the U.S. West Coast, and an oil and gas pipeline.

According to Fox News, “The goal is for China to leverage a position over the United States to create chaos, cause panic, and disrupt logistics.”

“Hackers tied to China’s People’s Liberation Army have gained access to more than two dozen critical systems, according to a Washington Post report. The newly revealed information provides a more complete understanding of the Volt Typhoon cybercampaign, which was initially identified by the U.S. government around a year ago,” the news outlet noted.

The hackers’ assumed goal was to steal employee credentials so that they could return as normal users, instead of using a back door to gain entrance.

“You’re trying to build tunnels into your enemies’ infrastructure that you can later use to attack. Until then you lie in wait, carry out reconnaissance, figure out if you can move into industrial control systems or more critical companies or targets upstream. And one day, if you get the order from on high, you switch from reconnaissance to attack,” Joe McReynolds, a China security studies fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, pointed out according to NDTV.

The breach of U.S. infrastructure brings to mind the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline that caused fuel prices to jump and general mayhem to ensue. The Chinese snaking their way into our infrastructure could result in even more disastrous scenarios playing out, especially if we wind up in a military conflict over Taiwan.

“The director of the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is reported as saying this is a significant change from Chinese cyber activity from seven to 10 years ago which was focused primarily on political and economic espionage,” Fox News reported.

“The goal of any threatening campaign like this is to establish a pre-positioned advantage able to trigger a cascading cyberattack that compromises American infrastructure. An attack on many of these systems would be able to disrupt or destroy control and cause chaos inside the United States,” the outlet continued.

China’s irregular warfare will purportedly attempt to block the U.S. from influencing Asian conflicts, such as a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. They could also sow chaos among American communities during emergency periods, according to Brandon Wales, who is an executive director for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“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,” Wales asserted, according to the Washington Post.

Across the U.S., utilities tend to be managed by private industry. They mostly operate separately but many of them are not hardened against attacks from our enemies such as the communist Chinese.

“One attempt to break into a power grid privately operated in Texas is now becoming known. Several electric utilities outside the U.S. have been compromised, according to the report,” Fox News elaborated.

The water utility in Hawaii was probably targeted because of Taiwan and the brewing conflict there. Oahu is home to the Pacific Fleet.

The hackers are allegedly utilizing readily available malware and a lapse in security through human deception to gain access to the systems. They blend in with common network traffic to avoid detection in a technique security experts term “living off the land.”

“The Volt Typhoon cybercampaign by China poses a serious threat to the national security and economic stability of the United States. By targeting critical infrastructure systems, such as water, power, and oil, China aims to gain a strategic advantage over the U.S. and potentially disrupt its military response in the event of a conflict over Taiwan,” Fox News stated.

Warning bells are going off all over the place as the Chinese continue to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan.

“The hackers’ attention on Hawaii suggests China wants to make it difficult for the U.S. to ship troops and equipment to Taiwan should a conflict arise, according to Joe McReynolds, a China security studies fellow at the Jamestown Foundation,” ABC15 News reported.

Chinese military officials have discussed enabling their infrastructure disruptions to coincide with airstrikes. They have talked about timing missile launches with the interruption of command and satellite networks, along with military logistics systems, according to the Washington Post,” the outlet continued.

In August, Chinese hackers attempted to breach the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s electrical grid, according to security company Recorded Future. In 2012, they collected data concerning industrial control systems from Telvent, whose software is used in North American gas pipelines, according to the Washington Post.

Comment

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles