China Unveils Weapon, Could Plunge US Into Darkness

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

On Tuesday, U.S. legislators received warnings about the escalating menace China’s cyber capabilities pose to the American power infrastructure during a committee hearing. The potential of a cyber onslaught from China causing nationwide blackouts at crucial military and other sensitive locations was stressed.

Manny Cancel, who holds the position of Senior Vice President at the North American Electric Reliability Corp., voiced his concern at the hearing in front of a U.S. House subcommittee. He emphasized the disturbing increase in China’s cyber activities, labeling them among the most rapidly evolving cyber threats today. China’s progress in displaying advanced skills and employing innovative, adaptive methods to infiltrate networks was highlighted.

The session, conducted by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, occurred at a time when the nation’s electrical system is becoming more and more susceptible to cyber invasions. Physical assaults and acts of vandalism also saw a sharp increase of 77% in 2022, according to the committee’s data.

A report released earlier this year by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence indicates that it is highly likely China possesses the ability to initiate cyberattacks capable of interrupting vital infrastructure services in the U.S., including oil and gas pipelines as well as railway systems.

The session took place amidst rising strain with China, including the recent incident of Chinese hackers allegedly infiltrating the email accounts of U.S. State Department officials and U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington who presides over the entire committee, asked attendees to envision the potential consequences of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launching an attack on our power grid.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning reasserted China’s claim of being a target of cyberattacks and countered by accusing the U.S. of launching extensive, indiscriminate cyberattacks against multiple nations.

She expressed her opinion at a regular press conference in Beijing on Wednesday, suggesting that the U.S. should refrain from politically-motivated accusations against China.