China poses significant cybersecurity threat, say US and British officials

The officials raised alarm over China’s escalating cyberthreat to international security and stability.

 Computer, Computer Hardware, Computer Keyboard, Electronics, Hardware, Laptop, Pc

US and British officials warned of an escalating cyber threat emanating from China. The White House’s cyber director underscored Beijing’s capacity to wreak havoc in cyberspace, while a UK spy agency chief described the situation as an ‘epoch-defining‘ challenge.

‘China poses a genuine and growing cyber risk to the UK,’ emphasised Anne Keast-Butler, director of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), during a security conference in Birmingham. She stressed that addressing Beijing’s activities is a top priority for GCHQ, as China’s coercive actions threaten international security.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently highlighted the threat from what he termed an ‘axis of authoritarian states’ including Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China. Additionally, British prosecutors have charged three individuals with aiding Hong Kong’s foreign intelligence service on British soil, a move dismissed by China as a fabrication.

GCHQ head echoed Sunak’s sentiment, emphasising that the coming years will be both perilous and transformative. At the same conference, US National Cyber Director Harry Coker warned that Chinese military hackers are evading US cyber defences and targeting American interests on an unprecedented scale. He cautioned that in a crisis or conflict scenario, China could deploy its cyber capabilities to target civilian infrastructure and deter US military action.

The US recently accused Beijing of a cyberespionage campaign by Volt Typhoon, where Chinese hackers were named to infiltrate numerous US-based critical infrastructure organisations. FBI Director Christopher Wray suggested a link between the campaign and China’s broader intent to dissuade the US from defending Taiwan, a claim refuted by China.