China has dismissed claims made by U.S. officials that it was behind cyberattacks on American infrastructure, labeling the accusations as “groundless.”
U.S. allegations: FBI Director Christopher Wray made the accusation during testimony before a U.S. congressional committee on Dec. 31.
Wray claimed that China’s state-sponsored hacking group, “Volt Typhoon,” infiltrated hundreds of older office routers connected to assets such as the power grid and transportation systems. According to Wray, China’s cyber operations pose a significant threat, with the potential to cause real-world harm in the event of a conflict.
“If and when China decides the time has come to strike, they’re not focused just on political or military targets,” he said.
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China’s response: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin denounced the accusations as “groundless,” condemning the U.S. for jumping to what he deemed as unwarranted conclusions without valid evidence.
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“China firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyberattacks in accordance with law,” Wang said during a press conference on Feb. 1. “Without valid evidence, the US jumped to an unwarranted conclusion and made groundless accusations against China. It is extremely irresponsible and is a complete distortion of facts.”
Escalating cyber tensions: The exchange comes amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and China. In recent years, both nations have accused each other of engaging in cyber espionage and sabotage. In Feb. 2022, Wray made a similar warning when he revealed that the FBI has launched over 2,000 investigations focusing on China’s purported attempts at stealing U.S. technology and data.
In Sept. 2023, Senior State Department IT officials revealed at a press briefing in the U.S. Senate that Chinese hackers stole 60,000 emails from U.S. State Department officials. In the same month, China’s Ministry of State Security alleged that the U.S. has been hacking Huawei’s servers to steal data since 2009 in a WeChat post titled “Revealing key despicable methods by U.S. intelligence agencies in cyberespionage and theft.”
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