Volt Typhoon [1] [2] [3] [4] [5], a state-sponsored Chinese threat actor known as PRC State-Sponsored Cyber Activity, has been targeting US critical infrastructure leaders [4] [5]. This poses a significant threat to national security.


Some victims may not be aware that they have been impacted by this cyber activity [2], according to Mandiant CEO [2]. The group, backed by the Chinese government [1] [3], has been using sophisticated techniques to infiltrate systems for at least five years [3], concealing their presence and bypassing detection with the use of “living off the land” technology. Recent US offensives have slowed their operations [3], but officials are still identifying victims targeted by the group [3], which is considered the top cyber adversary facing the United States [3]. The hackers have breached American facilities in Guam and other vital infrastructure both inside and outside the country [3], as well as internet routers in southern Texas and other locations [3]. Attacks on critical industries have the potential to cause widescale damage and disruption [4], making it crucial for organizations to strengthen security measures [4]. Risk assessments are essential for identifying and quantifying unique risks to organizations [4], allowing for the development of tailored security plans [4]. Critical infrastructure security has improved over the years [4], with organizations now better equipped to defend against advanced threats [4]. Security measures such as network segmentation [4], intrusion detection systems [4], and identity security play a key role in protecting critical infrastructure [4]. Malware activity targeting critical infrastructure is custom and challenging [4], requiring a multi-faceted approach to detection and prevention [4]. Security operations center teams have focused on threat detection to lower malware dwell time and improve overall security [4]. The Five Eyes intelligence partners have issued a warning about the threat from China [5], while Russia-affiliated threat actors are also targeting critical infrastructure [5], focusing on underwater cables and industrial control systems [5]. FBI Director Wray highlighted the importance of FISA Section 702 in combating cyber threats [5], allowing for surveillance of foreign intelligence adversaries using electronic communications [5]. Despite its effectiveness in alerting victims and discovering compromised network infrastructure [5], there is ongoing debate over the surveillance authority and its implications for privacy [5].


The ongoing threat from Volt Typhoon and other state-sponsored cyber actors highlights the importance of robust security measures for critical infrastructure. Organizations must continue to strengthen their defenses and remain vigilant against advanced cyber threats. Collaboration between government agencies, intelligence partners [5], and private sector organizations is essential to combatting these threats effectively. The implications of surveillance authority and privacy concerns must be carefully considered in the ongoing efforts to protect national security.


[1] https://westobserver.com/the-chinese-cyber-threat-how-china-is-targeting-america-with-hacking/
[2] https://www.learnsecurity.org/single-post/cyber-risk-update-12-apr-2024
[3] https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2024/04/some-volt-typhoon-victims-wont-know-theyre-impacted-mandiant-ceo-says/395659/
[4] https://www.darkreading.com/vulnerabilities-threats/critical-infrastructure-security-observations-from-front-lines
[5] https://www.cybersecuritydive.com/news/wray-state-linked-threat-critical-infrastructure/712947/