WaPo: China’s cyber army is invading Hawaii, Guam -- Target BWS?
WaPo Dec 11, 2023 (excerpts)
… Hackers affiliated with China’s People’s Liberation Army have burrowed into the computer systems of about two dozen critical entities over the past year, these experts said.
The intrusions are part of a broader effort to develop ways to sow panic and chaos or snarl logistics in the event of a U.S.-China conflict in the Pacific, they said.
Among the victims are a water utility in Hawaii, a major West Coast port and at least one oil and gas pipeline, people familiar with the incidents told The Washington Post. …
None of the intrusions affected industrial control systems that operate pumps, pistons or any critical function, or caused a disruption, U.S. officials said. But they said the attention to Hawaii, which is home to the Pacific Fleet, and to at least one port as well as logistics centers suggests the Chinese military wants the ability to complicate U.S. efforts to ship troops and equipment to the region if a conflict breaks out over Taiwan….
Morgan Adamski, director of the National Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center, confirmed in an email that Volt Typhoon activity “appears to be focused on targets within the Indo-Pacific region, to include Hawaii.”
The hackers often sought to mask their tracks by threading their attacks through innocuous devices such as home or office routers before reaching their victims, officials said. A key goal was to steal employee credentials they could use to return, posing as normal users. But some of their entry methods have not been determined.
The hackers are looking for a way to get in and stay in without being detected, said Joe McReynolds, a China security studies fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a think tank focused on security issues. “You’re trying to build tunnels into your enemies’ infrastructure that you can later use to attack. Until then you lie in wait, carry out reconnaissance, figure out if you can move into industrial control systems or more critical companies or targets upstream. And one day, if you get the order from on high, you switch from reconnaissance to attack.”…
In May, Microsoft said it had found Volt Typhoon infiltrating critical infrastructure in Guam and elsewhere, listing a number of sectors. Those included telecommunications firms, according to people familiar with the matter. The hacks were especially concerning, analysts said, because Guam is the closest U.S. territory to the contested Taiwan Strait….
read … China’s cyber army is invading critical U.S. services
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