Congressional Hearing On Cybersecurity Threats

February 1, 2024

… the Chinese cyber actors have taken advantage of very basic flaws in our technology.

United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Jen Easterly in a House Select Committee hearing on the Chinese Communist Party.

Why It Matters: On Wednesday, Easterly, along with FBI director Christopher Wray and other national security officials, warned about cybersecurity risks posed to Americans by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Wray explained that Chinese hackers are trying “to find and prepare to destroy or degrade the civilian critical infrastructure that keeps us safe and prosperous,” in the event of a future conflict, emphasizing, “Cyber threats to our critical infrastructure represent real world threats to our physical safety.” Easterly said Chinese hackers have exploited weaknesses in U.S. technology. She then explained the importance of developing secure technology that cannot be breached, adding, “we need to ensure that individual consumers are also aware that they need to be asking for products that are secure by design …”

Timing: The hearing came as U.S. officials announced their disruption of a large Chinese cyber operation targeting critical infrastructure in the U.S. Reuters explains, “The disruptive American operation involved taking down hundreds of U.S.-based small office or home office routers that were part of the botnet [a group of infected devices used to carry out hackers’ malign activities] and had been hijacked by China’s state-sponsored hackers, Sean Newell, deputy chief of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said during a media briefing by phone.”

Read More: Chinese hackers are determined to ‘wreak havoc’ on US critical infrastructure, FBI director warns (The Associated Press)

U.S. Government Disrupts Botnet People’s Republic of China Used to Conceal Hacking of Critical Infrastructure (U.S. Dept. of Justice)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas