Chinese hackers have been lurking in critical US infrastructure for at least the past five years. CNN reported on Wednesday. U.S. officials said in a 50-page report on the subject that by hiding behind the scenes of transportation, water, electricity and other critical systems, hackers have the opportunity to strike when they think the time is right. A public version of the full document will be released next week.
FBI and Justice Department officials previously issued a court decision Updating software that can withstand Chinese hacking. The effort was aimed at combating Chinese hacking by remotely shutting down some affected systems. It was able to remove code from hundreds of Internet routers that could have let in Chinese hackers, according to the department.
An upcoming report reveals how long this has been going on and how bad a potential cyber attack could be. It is designed to detail the hacker’s techniques while providing guidance to companies behind critical infrastructure systems on how to spot Chinese hackers on their systems. The report says there is no indication yet that the hackers are targeting US infrastructure.
Hackers started by breaking into IT systems and moved from there to more important technology behind US infrastructure. They also hacked security cameras at some facilities and otherwise entered water treatment facilities, the report said.
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress that Chinese hackers were preparing to destroy US critical infrastructure systems. “Cyber threats to our critical infrastructure are real-world threats to our physical security” he said at the meeting.