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US claims Chinese hackers infiltrated water systems, trains and planes for five years

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In a joint statement, American and allied intelligence agencies on Wednesday (Feb 7) said that an advanced group of Chinese hackers have been aiming at critical US infrastructure, which has remained active for as long as half a decade. 

The US cyber watchdog CISA, the Transportation Security Administration, the FBI and the US National Security Agency said that the group is called Volt Typhoon.

They added that the group had quietly burrowed into the networks of pipeline, mass transit, highway, aviation, rail, water and sewage organisations.

None of the organisations have been identified by name, however, the statement said that US intelligence officials had observed that the hackers are “maintaining access and footholds within some victim IT environments for at least five years”.

The statement, which was co-signed by the cybersecurity agencies of different countries, including New Zealand, Canada, Britain and Australia, is the latest in a series of warnings issued regarding Volt Typhoon from US officials.

White House holds meetings with private technology industry 

Volt Typhoon is a group which has drawn particular alarm since it appears geared toward sabotage and not espionage.

The nature of cyber hacks has forced the White House and the private technology industry to hold a series of meetings, which include various telecommunications and cloud commuting companies. In these meetings, the US government asked for assistance in tracking such activities.

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“We are extraordinarily concerned about malicious cyber activity from the PRC state-sponsored actor that industry calls Volt Typhoon,” said Eric Goldstein, a senior CISA official, while speaking about the People’s Republic of China to Reuters before the release of the statement.

 “Most of the victims we have identified have no legitimate espionage value,” Goldstein further said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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