FBI Director Raises Alarm Over Growing Cyber Threats from China

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray underlines the escalating threat of cyber attacks from China on the U.S.
  • Wray highlights China’s ambitions in tech dominance and the illicit means used to achieve it.
  • He calls for a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to combat these cyber threats effectively.
  • The FBI is currently handling thousands of investigations related to Beijing-sponsored cyber attacks.
  • The official warned that a cyber attack could potentially inflict more damage to the US than a physical terrorist attack.

With an eye on China’s aspirations for technical dominance coupled with illicit means employed to achieve it, FBI Director Christopher Wray has stressed the increasing threats of cyber attacks that the U.S. faces from China.

The FBI Director painted a picture of the extensive and evolving threat landscape in a discussion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on March 2. He underscored how Beijing, armed with both economic might and unparalleled ambition, is becoming a significant menace in the sphere of cybersecurity.

“We currently have over 2,000 active investigations tied to the government in Beijing,” Wray said, “and I can tell you, having been in this job for a few years and having looked at these issues for a few years before, it’s getting worse. It’s not getting better.”

Echoing the dire need for concerted efforts across the board to tackle cyber threats, Wray suggested a multi-disciplinary approach to combating these complex and sophisticated challenges.

“We can’t prevent every attack or punish every hacker – no matter how much we would like to,” Wray said, “But we can make this more of a team effort, and together build our resilience, reduce our risks, and mitigate our damage.”

The official also drew a comparison between the potential impacts of a cyber attack and a physical terrorist attack, warning that the former could potentially inflict more significant harm.

“If there’s a major attack on our critical infrastructure, a physical terrorist attack is terrible and impacts the immediate environment… but a cyber attack… could affect the whole country,” Wray said, stressing the potential widespread devastating impacts of a successful major cyber-attack.

Wray’s comments come in the backdrop of state-sponsored cyber-attacks and cyber espionage gaining increased geopolitical significance. Notably, the U.S. is not the only target of China’s cyber-operations, with numerous such attacks being reported globally.

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