WASHINGTON, December 11. /TASS/. The American newspaper The Washington Post claims that Chinese hackers have gained unauthorized access to the computer systems of about two dozen important facilities in the US, including infrastructure sites, over the past year.
According to the newspaper's sources - US officials - a group of hackers allegedly linked to the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) "is ramping up its ability to disrupt key American infrastructure, including power and water utilities as well as communications and transportation systems." The article cites expert assessments indicating that these actions are "part of a broader effort to develop ways to sow panic and chaos or snarl logistics in the event of a US-China conflict in the Pacific."
A facility in the state of Hawaii associated with the water supply network, a major port on the US Pacific Coast, and an oil and gas transportation pipeline are among the entities that were allegedly penetrated by Chinese hackers. Moreover, a power grid operator in the state of Texas was subjected to cyberattacks. The newspaper specifies that there were no disruptions in the operation of these facilities.
"It is very clear that Chinese attempts to compromise critical infrastructure are in part to pre-position themselves to be able to disrupt or destroy that critical infrastructure in the event of a conflict, to either prevent the United States from being able to project power into Asia or to cause societal chaos inside the United States — to affect our decision-making around a crisis," the newspaper cited Brandon Wales, executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
"That is a significant change from Chinese cyber activity from seven to 10 years ago that was focused primarily on political and economic espionage," he added.