Type to search

Chinese Hackers Poised to Strike at US Infrastructure: FBI Director

The US law enforcement chief said a Chinese hacking campaign known as Volt Typhoon has gained access to telecoms, energy and water sectors

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Approbations Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2024. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Approbations Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, on April 11, 2024. Photo: Reuters


Chinese hackers have embedded themselves in a number of critical US networks and are waiting “for just the right moment to deal a devastating blow”.

That was the warning from FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said an ongoing Chinese hacking campaign known as Volt Typhoon has successfully gained access to numerous American companies in telecommunications, energy, water and other critical sectors, with 23 pipeline operators targeted.

China is developing the “ability to physically wreak havoc on our critical infrastructure at a time of its choosing,” Wray said at the 2024 Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats. “Its plan is to land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic.”

Wray said it was difficult to determine the intent of this cyber pre-positioning which was aligned with China’s broader intent to deter the US from defending Taiwan.


Also on AF: Study Shows Half of China’s Big Cities Sinking, Rising Seas Risk


China claims democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan strongly objects to China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s people can decide their future.

Earlier this week, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said, Volt Typhoon was in fact unrelated to China’s government, but is part of a criminal ransomware group.

In a statement, China’s Embassy in Washington referred back to the MFA spokesperson’s comment. “Some in the US have been using origin-tracing of cyberattacks as a tool to hit and frame China, claiming the US to be the victim while it’s the other way round, and politicising cybersecurity issues.”

Wray said China’s hackers operated a series of botnets – constellations of compromised personal computers and servers around the globe – to conceal their malicious cyber activities. Private sector American technology and cybersecurity companies previously attributed Volt Typhoon to China, including reports by security researchers with Microsoft and Google.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Chinese Spies Targeting Dutch Tech: Intelligence Agency

China’s Theft of Trade Secrets Our No1 Concern: US Patent Chief

Microsoft Programmer Thwarted Global Cyberattack – NYT

China Says Hacking Claims by US and UK is ‘Political Slander’

China Says Foreign Hackers Targeting Hundreds of Networks – SCMP



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


AF China Bond