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FBI boss warns of China threat

China has built itself into a cyberattack powerhouse unrivaled by any other nation, according to the head of the FBI

FBI head Christopher Wray says China remains a primary security threat to the US.

During a speaking event at Vanderbilt University, the US fed director said that the CCP is front and center when it comes to cyber threats.

"At the FBI, PRC [People's Republic of China] aggression and criminality has required us to commit our counterintelligence, cybersecurity, and criminal investigative resources because the Chinese government's actions have proven, again and again, that it's a combined counterintelligence, cybersecurity, and criminal threat," Wray said.

"Part of that threat is driven by the CCP's aspirations to wealth and power. Through plans like 'Made in China 2025' and its series of Five-Year Plans, Beijing is seeking to seize economic development in the areas most critical to tomorrow's economy."

Wray's warning comes on the heels of a report from Microsoft that hackers acting on behalf of the CCP were looking to meddle in US politics and, rather than sway elections, sow domestic chaos in the US ahead of the presidential elections.

While PRC cyberattacks were once thought to be limited to intellectual property theft and light espionage, Wray said that China has now become the most active government in the world when it comes to cyberattacks and espionage operations across the board.

"To give you a sense of the scale of China’s cyber activity, if all of the FBI’s cyber agents and cyber intelligence analysts focused exclusively on China—and not on ransomware, Iran, or Russia—Chinese hackers would still outnumber FBI cyber personnel by at least 50 to 1," Wray said.

"And that's probably a conservative estimate because the Chinese government is also showing a penchant for hiring cybercriminals to do its bidding—in effect, cyber mercenaries—further supplementing its cyber workforce."

While cyber attacks are the current reality, Wray says that the endgame is far mor disturbing and will have real-world consequences in just a few years should China invade Taiwan.

"2027 is not exactly long-term. In reality, it’s not even “around the corner.” We’re feeling some of the effects today," said Wray.

"In government, we’re looking at the 2024 budgets being written now as the determinants of what resources we’ll have ready to confront China in 2027."