Security agency directors, FBI warn that Chinese cyber attacks are meant to induce 'societal panic' across America

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a testimony on Wednesday, February 21, Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), warned members of Congress that China's hacking threats are intended to "induce societal panic."

According to Fox News, Easterly told the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that ransomware attacks on U.S. businesses or critical systems are quite literally intended to induce panic and unsettle everyday American life. 

She said in a statement, "It is Chinese military doctrine to attempt to induce societal panic in their adversary. And arguably, the Chinese government got a little bit of a taste of this in the aftermath of the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in May of 2021 that shut down gas to the Eastern seaboard for several days."

Easterly also noted that during that incident, Americans "couldn't get to work. They couldn't take their kids to school, get folks to the hospital. It caused a bit of panic." She added, "Now imagine that on a massive scale. Imagine not one pipeline, but many pipelines disrupted and telecommunications going down so people can't use their cell phone. People start getting sick from polluted water. Trains get derailed. Air traffic control systems, port control systems are malfunctioning. This is truly an everything, everywhere all at once scenario."

Easterly was just one of four witnesses at "The CCP Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security" hearing. Others in attendance were General Paul Nakasone, Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command; FBI Director Christopher Wray; and Harry Coker, Jr., director of the White House's Office of the National Cyber Director.

During the hearing, Wray echoed Easterly's comments, saying that there is much more Congress and the rest of the federal government need to do to ensure Americans are truly safe from potential cyber threats posed by the Chinese government. While at the meeting, Wray announced that his bureau effectively eliminated a Chinese malware attack on small businesses located throughout the United States.

He said, "Just this morning, we [the FBI] announced an operation where we and our partners identified hundreds of routers that had been taken over by the PRC state-sponsored hacking group known as Volt Typhoon. The Volt Typhoon malware enabled China to hide, among other things, pre-operational reconnaissance and network exploitation against critical infrastructure like our communications, energy, transportation and water sectors."

During his speech, Wray was sure to specifically mention that the hacking group intended to "find and prepare to destroy or degrade the civilian critical infrastructure that keeps us safe and prosperous."

He added, "And let's be clear, cyber threats to our critical infrastructure represent real-world threats to our physical safety. So working with our partners, the FBI shut down Volt Typhoon and the access that enabled this operation was an important step, but there's a whole lot more to do and we need your help to do it."

Wray said that China, also known as the People's Republic of China (PRC), has a much larger cyber force that is dedicated and funded to dominate the cyber realm. He said that even if the United States was to dedicate all of its cyber security personnel to China, it would still be outnumbered by "at least 50-to-1."

When asked how to protect from the potential threat, Gen. Nakasone emphasized the necessary step of renewing Section 702, a provision of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. He said, "Section 702 is the most important authority that the National Security Agency uses every single day to keep Americans safe and to secure out nation.

"As someone who was at the Pentagon on 9/11 to consider that we would return to the days before Section 702 where we couldn't connect the dots is almost inexplicable to me. The other piece that I would add to your question is [Section] 702 is so agile that it provides us an ability to see the Chinese chemicals that are being used to feed fentanyl, which is the scourge of our nation. More than 100,000 Americans lost their lives in 2022. [Section] 702 allows us to identify those precursor issues that saves lives."

On Thursday, February 22, an AT&T outage left tens of thousands without cellphone service. In response, GOP Sen. Mark Rubio (R-FL) warned on social media that the outage "pales in comparison" to what a potential China cyber attack would look like. 

On X, he wrote, "I don't know the cause of the AT&T outage, but I do know it will be 100 times worse when #China launches a cyber attack on America on the eve of a #Taiwan invasion. And it won't just be cell service they hit. It will be your power, your water and your bank."
 
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don

If you believe anything this government says you're delusional. How can we ever believe them after what we all know is true. Wake the f up America !

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