FBI Director Christopher Wray hit the Hill on Wednesday to warn lawmakers that Chinese hackers are preparing to “wreak havoc” on critical American infrastructure systems.
Wray warns the hackers will “cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities.” He testified before the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday.
The hearing was titled “The Chinese Community Party Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security.”
“There has been far too little public focus on the fact that PRC [People’s Republic of China] hackers are targeting our critical infrastructure – our water treatment plants, our electrical grid, our oil and natural gas pipelines, our transportation systems. And the risk that poses to every American requires our attention now,” Wray told lawmakers.
“China’s hackers are positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities, if and when China decides the time has come to strike,” he added.
Wray continued: “Today, and literally every day” Chinese hackers are “actively attacking our economic security, engaging in wholesale theft of our innovation, and our personal and corporate data.”
“And they don’t just hit our security and economy. They target our freedoms, reaching inside our borders, across America, to silence, coerce, and threaten our citizens and residents,” Wray testified.
This isn’t the first time Wray raised the red flag. Last April, the FBI Director told lawmakers that FBI agents are outnumbered “at least 50 to 1” when facing off against Chinese hackers.
“They’ve got a bigger hacking program than every other major nation combined and have stolen more of our personal and corporate data than all other nations – big or small combined,” he said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing at the time.
“To give you a sense of what we’re up against, if each one of the FBI’s cyber agents and intel analysts focused exclusively on the China threat – on nothing but China – Chinese hackers would still outnumber FBI cyber personnel by at least 50 to 1,” Wray testified.