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Bracing for Cyber Storm: US Official Gives Grim Warning on China’s Cyber Capabilities


As the digital landscape continues to become an increasingly contested battlefield, America’s foremost cybersecurity authority has issued a grave warning about the rising prowess of China’s cyber capabilities. Labeled as an “epoch-defining threat,” China’s disruptive cyber power presents a significant risk to the US, particularly in the event of escalating hostilities.

Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, delivered this somber message at a recent address at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. She cautioned that China’s aggressive cyber activities could potentially disrupt America’s transportation infrastructure, triggering widespread panic.

Earlier in the month, tech giant Microsoft raised an alarm over the covert activities of a China-based, state-sponsored actor known as “Volt Typhoon.” This group, notorious for espionage and information gathering, has been sneakily conducting activities aimed at accessing credentials and discovering network systems within key US infrastructure organizations.

“This is the real threat that we need to be prepared for,” Easterly underscored, adding that it’s imperative for those running critical infrastructure to brace for potential disruptions.

Easterly further emphasized the likelihood of China targeting the American home front in case of a conflict, disrupting crucial systems like pipelines and rail lines to delay military deployment and induce societal panic.

Considering the formidable capabilities of Chinese state actors and the extensive resources they’re investing in cyber capabilities, Easterly admits, it will be challenging to prevent disruptions from happening. However, she stressed the importance of societal resilience in the face of this threat.

Her remarks also pointed to a shift in China’s cyber strategy, from decades of intellectual property theft to a present focus on disruption and destruction. This transformation from espionage to cyber-disruption signifies a new front in the battle for digital supremacy.

These stern warnings echo the findings of the 2023 threat assessment released by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence. The report underlines China as possibly the most comprehensive, active, and consistent cyber espionage threat to both the U.S. Government and private-sector networks.

The assessment also predicts that any major conflict with China is likely to commence on the cyber battlefield. If Beijing perceives a significant conflict with the United States as imminent, it would almost certainly launch aggressive cyber operations against U.S. homeland critical infrastructure and military assets worldwide. These potential strikes would aim to deter U.S. military action by impeding decision-making, inducing societal panic, and interfering with the deployment of U.S. forces.

Alexandra Russel
Alexandra Russel
Highly respected journalist and political commentator with over a decade of experience in the industry. Alex was born and raised in Florida, where she developed a passion for writing at a young age, leading her to pursue a degree in journalism from the University of Florida. After graduation, she worked as a political reporter for several local and national publications before being appointed as the chief editor at Conservative Fix.

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