Senior US cybersecurity official warns of Chinese hackers targeting US critical infrastructure in potential conflict

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly also underlined that defense measures must be undertaken, but may not be enough.

 Cable, Power Lines, Electric Transmission Tower, Utility Pole

During a recent event at the Aspen Institute, US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly highlighted the increasing risk of Chinese hackers targeting critical American infrastructure, including pipelines and railways, in the event of a potential conflict with the USA. Easterly expressed her concerns about Beijing’s substantial investments in developing the capability to sabotage US infrastructure. She emphasised the need to be prepared, build resilience, and focus on countering this real threat. Easterly also cautioned that defence measures might not be sufficient, as Chinese state actors possess formidable resources and capabilities, making it challenging to prevent disruptions.

Reuters reports that the Chinese Embassy in Washington has not responded to requests for a reaction regarding this warning. Easterly’s remarks further underscore a prior warning issued by the US intelligence community, which stated in its annual threat assessment that Beijing would likely consider aggressive cyber operations against critical infrastructure and military targets within the USA if they believed a major confrontation was imminent.