FBI Director Warns of Growing Chinese Threat to U.S. Critical Infrastructure

Paige Henley
Paige Henley Editor
Published on: April 23, 2024
Paige Henley Paige Henley
Published on: April 23, 2024 Editor

On April 18, FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered a stark warning about the national and economic security threats that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) poses to the United States.

“Vanderbilt’s choice to focus this year’s summit on the challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China echoes the Bureau’s own assessment of that threat — an assessment we’ve been beating the drum on for years — because, from the FBI’s perspective, these threats are not over the horizon. They’re upon us now,” Wray stated.

Speaking at the Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats in Nashville, Wray emphasized that China views every sector critical to American society as a target in its global dominance efforts. He highlighted that the PRC’s strategy includes attacking civilian infrastructure to induce panic and undermine American resilience.

Wray described the threat from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a hybrid of crime, counterintelligence, and cybersecurity. The CCP’s objectives are driven by ambitions of wealth and power, seeking to dominate key economic sectors crucial for future economies. This includes illicit activities such as stealing intellectual property, technology, and research from the US.

The FBI is particularly concerned about the vulnerability of the US’s critical infrastructure:

“We’ve seen Beijing hit just about every industry we have — everything from biotech to aviation, to advanced technologies like AI [artificial intelligence], to different forms of healthcare and agriculture—to steal our intellectual property, technology, and research,” Wray informed the crowd.

The director also referenced the FBI’s “Volt Typhoon” investigation, which uncovered that the Chinese government had illicitly accessed networks within critical U.S. infrastructure sectors, including telecommunications and energy. He also mentioned indiscriminate cyber campaigns by China, such as the widespread Microsoft Exchange hack in 2021, which affected various sectors.

To counter these threats, the FBI is leveraging its intelligence capabilities and technological expertise. Wray stressed the importance of collaboration with the private sector and academia to enhance cybersecurity defenses. The Bureau is engaged in joint operations with other U.S. agencies and international partners, sharing intelligence and coordinating responses to disrupt and deter cyber threats posed by China.

Wray’s call to action underscores the urgent need for strategic investments and partnerships to secure the nation’s future against foreign cybersecurity threats. As the U.S. prepares its budget for the coming years, the focus will be on allocating sufficient resources to strengthen its defense and maintain its competitive edge in the face of these challenges.

About the Author
Paige Henley
Published on: April 23, 2024

About the Author

Paige Henley is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She has three years of experience writing and editing various cybersecurity articles and blog posts about VPNs, antivirus software, and other data protection tools. As a freelancer, Paige enjoys working in a variety of content niches and is always expanding her knowledge base. When she isn't working as a "Safety Detective", she raises orphaned neonatal kittens, works on DIY projects around the house, and enjoys movie marathons on weekends with her husband and three cats.