FBI director implies Chinese hackers are targeting infrastructure to ‘induce panic’ – Washington Examiner

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FBI Director Christoper Wray suggested efforts from Chinese hackers to infiltrate U.S. infrastructure are motivated by something “even more sinister” than an economic incentive.

Wray spoke at the Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats on Thursday to deliver the latest update on Volt Typhoon, a group that, according to the FBI, is sponsored by the Chinese Communist Party. The group has infiltrated water treatment plants, the power grid, oil and natural gas pipelines, and transportation systems, according to Wray, and the FBI assisted in removing these hackers’ malware from hundreds of routers.

“The [People’s Republic of China] has made it clear that it considers every sector that makes our society run as fair game in its bid to dominate on the world stage and that its plan is to land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic and break America’s will to resist,” Wray said.

There was one “honeypot” trap set up to lure Volt Typhoon, Wray added, that resulted in the hackers targeting data surrounding “control and monitoring systems, while ignoring financial and business-related information, which suggests their goals were even more sinister than stealing a leg up economically.” The hackers attacked within 15 minutes from the time the honeypot was set.

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Wang Lei, China Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinator for cyber affairs, denied any governmental involvement in a statement earlier this week. Instead, he referred to Volt Typhoon as an “international ransomware group” and called the United States “the largest hacker state.”

Volt Typhoon was uncovered last May and continues to be active.

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