Feds warn China is distributing 'malware' to attack U.S. infrastructure

 February 8, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

In traditional conflicts, one nation preparing for an attack on another distributes soldiers, weapons, munitions, communications equipment, and the like to regions where it is expected to be helpful.

But battle operations and strategies have changed these days, and now a top U.S. intelligence organization is warning that China's Communist regime is installing "malware" in key U.S. systems in preparation for the chance that there will be a major conflict.

"A Feb. 7 advisory released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) seeks 'to warn critical infrastructure organizations' about China’s attempts to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy vital U.S. facilities," explained a report in the Epoch Times.

The agency warned, "[Chinese] state-sponsored cyber actors are seeking to pre-position themselves on IT networks for disruptive or destructive cyberattacks against U.S. critical infrastructure in the event of a major crisis or conflict with the United States."

That threatening computer code would be intended "to launch destructive cyber-attacks that would jeopardize the physical safety of Americans and impede military readiness," the agency warning said.

Just last week intelligence experts confirmed the U.S. already had removed Chinese malware from more than 600 computer systems linked to "critical U.S. infrastructure, the report said.

The infiltration schemes are operating daily, said Eric Goldstein, CISA’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity.

And he warned it's not a "theoretical" threat.

"It is based on confirmed intrusions to U.S. critical infrastructure. And we know that what we have found is the tip of the iceberg."

The campaigns are a change from the intellectual property theft and espionage agendas China has operated against the U.S. for years, he said.

Now, the focus is more on causing physical harm and panic.

"It is worth noting that the information that we are releasing with this advisory is reflecting a strategic shift in [China’s] malicious cyber activity from a focus on espionage and IP theft to pre-positioning for future disruptive or destructive attacks,” he confirmed. "Our evidence strongly suggests that the [China-based] actors are pre-positioning to launch future disruptive or destructive cyber attacks that could cause impacts to national security, economic security, or public health and safety."

The report noted Cynthia Kaiser, from the cyber division at the FBI, said those "malign" groups hide by blending into existing infrastructure operations and credentialing.

Already, what has been dubbed the Volt Typhoon botnet has been uncovered, and blocked in many operations.

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