REPORT: China Cyber Threat Targets U.S. Power, Water

December 12, 2023

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

Brandon Wales, executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), on a recent hacking campaign “Volt Typhoon” by the People’s Liberation Army of China targeting strategic U.S. infrastructure.

The Big Picture: According to a report by The Washington Post, several U.S. officials and industry security officials have provided more details about the Chinese military targeting American infrastructure such as power, water, communications, and transportation systems. “Among the victims are a water utility in Hawaii, a major West Coast port and at least one oil and gas pipeline, people familiar with the incidents told The Washington Post. The hackers also attempted to break into the operator of Texas’s power grid, which operates independently from electrical systems in the rest of the country” (WaPo).

Hackers associated with China’s People’s Liberation Army have breached “about two dozen critical entities over the past year” (WaPo).

Sources told The Washington Post that “none of the intrusions affected industrial control systems that operate pumps, pistons or any critical function, or caused a disruption.” However, one security expert noted: “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.”

Why It Matters: China’s “Volt Typhoon” campaign, a state-sponsored actor in China focused on espionage, was first detected one year ago. The annual threat assessment released in February by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warned of China’s capabilities to launch cyberattacks that would disrupt U.S. infrastructure. This new report by The Washington Post provides more details about the extent of the attack and the targets.

Read The Report Here:

China’s cyber army is invading critical U.S. services (The Washington Post)

by Sarah Pinkerton,