FBI Director Christopher Wray warned lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday that Chinese hackers are preparing to “wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities.”
Wray and other government officials are testifying in front of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party for a hearing 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 also said that “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.
Wray previously testified in April last year that FBI agents are outnumbered by “at least 50 to 1” when attempting to address the threat China poses to critical infrastructure through its cyber hacking practices, and said Beijing has stolen more personal and corporate data from the U.S. than any other nation.
“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 said.