MASON CITY — A coalition of US intelligence agencies is warning that China-based hackers have maintained access to American critical infrastructure for at least five years with the long-term goal of launching destructive cyberattacks. US officials say they disrupted a state-backed Chinese effort to plant malware that could be used to damage civilian infrastructure.
North-central Iowa congresswoman Ashley Hinson is part of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party and says she’s strongly urging everyone to take note of new intelligence revealing the growing threat Chinese hacking poses to the United States. “This is the kind of stuff that keeps us all up at night right, is what the Chinese Communist Party is doing to try to sow chaos in our country. They’ve been able to infiltrate our water systems, our transportation systems, our energy systems, and while they haven’t used that to cause chaos yet, they could, and I’m sure they will eventually.”
Hinson says there must be bipartisan support to permanently shut down Volt Typhoon and safeguard critical infrastructure against Chinese cyber warfare. “From my perspective it’s important that we continue to look to our agencies like CISA who are spotlighting these challenges, Volt Typhoon. They were the ones who were able to uncover it and spotlight it, and now they’re working in our district with businesses and entities to help them have the tools necessary to spot these instances but to also push back and eliminate them from these very critical systems.” CISA is the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
The operation against Volt Typhoon disrupted a botnet of hundreds of U.S.-based small office and home routers owned by private citizens and companies that had been hijacked by the Chinese hackers to cover their tracks as they sowed the malware. Their ultimate targets included water treatment plants, the electrical grid and transportation systems across the United States.