The Biden administration is actively searching for malware it believes was secretly installed by China in systems controlling the United States' power grids, water infrastructure, and more, according to reports over the weekend.
Concerns about China's ability to attack critical US infrastructure have increased in recent years. The 2023 Annual Threat Assessment from the director of national intelligence said China "almost certainly" has the capability to disrupt key US systems. The nation's top cybersecurity official, Jen Easterly, called Chinese cybersabotage capabilities a top threat at a public forum last month. In May, Microsoft said it uncovered evidence that Chinese-affiliated hackers installed malware in Guam, home to a significant US military presence.
Some estimates concluded China had between 50,000 and 100,000 individuals engaged in global cyberwarfare. Details on specific systems, structures, and locations—and how widespread the problem is—involved in the current probe were not revealed.