Suspected Chinese Malware Found in US Military Systems, Experts Fear Intent to Disrupt Operations

US officials have uncovered suspected Chinese malware within multiple military systems, raising concerns about potential disruptions to military and civilian operations. Unlike previous cyberattacks that primarily aimed at surveillance, experts now believe that the intent behind this new wave of malicious code is more likely to disrupt critical infrastructure.

The attacks initially came to light in May when Microsoft identified malicious code in telecommunications software in Guam, where the Andersen Air Force Base is located. Investigations into Chinese malware have been ongoing for several months, with evidence of infiltration into US military systems both domestically and abroad.

A Shift in Intent

The nature of this latest malware has alarmed cybersecurity experts. Rob Joyce, the director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency (NSA), referred to it as “really disturbing.”

The tweet below verifies the news:

Instead of simply spying on US operations, experts warn that this malware has the potential to cut off essential services such as power, water, and communications to military bases and could impact homes and businesses nationwide.

China’s Cyber Ambitions

The US government has been vocal about China’s persistent attempts to breach US systems, both governmental and commercial. George Barnes, the deputy director of the NSA, highlighted China’s determination to penetrate various critical infrastructure sectors. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also raised concerns about Chinese hacking during a meeting with Chinese diplomats earlier in July.

Uncertainty Surrounding the Malware

While the presence of the malware is clear, experts remain unsure about the extent of the Chinese government’s involvement and the effectiveness of the software. The malware’s potential to disrupt critical infrastructure and civilian operations is a cause for significant concern, prompting the Biden administration to take measures to protect vital systems, including water, pipelines, rail, and aviation.

National Security Measures

The National Security Council’s spokesman, Adam Hodge, assured that the Biden administration is actively defending the US from any potential disruptions to critical infrastructure. The administration is coordinating interagency efforts to safeguard key systems, prioritizing the protection of vital services and ensuring accountability for those responsible for cyberattacks.

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