China is Targeting U.S. Infrastructure with Cyberattacks

China Targeting U.S. Infrastructure
Photo by Sabian Mahmud

The Washington Post reported that China is targeting U.S. infrastructure with cyberattacks in a continuing effort to increase its ability to disable critical systems.  The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) first announced these attacks in May of 2023.  CISA identified the source as Volt Typhoon, a state sponsored hacking group affiliated with China.

Chinese Military Targets in the U.S.

The People’s Liberation Army is targeting power grids, water utilities, and transportation networks in the United States.  Chinese hackers have penetrated over twenty computer systems in strategic entities in the last year in an effort to compromise the ability of the U.S. to respond to events in the event of a conflict with China. 

Organizations effected include a water utility in Hawaii, maritime ports, a Texas power grid, and an oil and gas pipeline.  These efforts are part of a long term strategy that is continuing to develop in scope and sophistication.  

Chinese Espionage Effects All Sectors

China is conducting a global cyber espionage program to steal trade secrets, intellectual property, and sensitive information from companies in North America, Europe, and Asia. Many organizations that have suffered these data breaches, are not even aware that their computer networks have been compromised. 

These attacks have exploited a wide array of vulnerabilities.  Often multi-stage infection chains are used to avoid detection. Other attacks have involved more standard forms of malicious software including spear-phishing emails.

While China is not the sole nation to threaten U.S. interests with cyberattacks, its activities have, unlike others, focused on economic espionage and intellectual property theft. Clearly China intends to be a dominant economic global force by any and all means available. U.S. businesses therefore must engage in effective strategies to protect their interests and remain vigilant.

Mitigating Cyber-Attacks

The National Security Agency (NSA) has issued some basic guidance for mitigating the threats to targeted critical infrastructure.  These include the use of robust multifactor authentication, enforcing password protocols, updating software and operating systems, and educating personnel against phishing scams.  While these issues may seem basic in nature, the reality is that may organizations, both public and private, have insufficient information security management programs.  

Organizations in the private sector have begun to realize the enormous threat that cyberattacks pose. Their responses however, have been slow, and the levels of cybersecurity maturity attained thus far are leaving proprietary and sensitive data vulnerable. While numerous advances in IT tools are available in assisting organizations in their fight against cyberattacks, organizations require management tools to evaluate risks, implement plans, and coordinate control mechanisms.

China is targeting U.S. infrastructure as well as key industries in the private sector.  For many small to medium businesses, a severe data breach could spell the end of their enterprises. Their challenges are confounded by the need to share data with suppliers, customers and other third parties.  

Clearly, the path forward is not likely to get easier for those involved in the protection of data. It is therefore the duty of all organizations to assume responsibility for their best interests and shape their entities to protect their futures.

CVG Strategy Information Security Management System Consultants

To assist businesses to meet the challenges in adopting CMMC 2.0 standards, CVG Strategy has developed an approach that combines the requirements of CMMC compliance with the ISO 27001 information security management system.  This provides a coherent methodology for implementing and maintaining essential cybersecurity for businesses of any size.

It involves processes, facility security, people, and IT systems to engage in best practices. It also involves a constant improvement approach so that threats can be continually assessed and addressed as they evolve. This business system can help your organization remain vigilant against economic espionage and cyberattacks conducted by China and other nation states.

We can help you meet your information security management system goals.  CVG Strategy QMS experts are Exemplar Global Certified Lead Auditors.  We can provide the training required to understand and engage in a ISMS and make it meet desired objectives. This process includes defining the context of your organization, creation of internal auditing processes and much more. 

Identify Areas With CUI with CVG Strategy Signs

CVG Strategy provides signs to identify areas containing CUI and export controlled items. These signs should be posted at all facility entrances where products are being produced or services are being performed that are under the control of the U.S. Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations per title 22, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 120-130.

Kevin Gholston

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