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2022 Annual DNI Cybersecurity Threat Assessment Findings for China

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Per the 2022 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, a publication from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) “We assess that China presents the broadest, most active, and persistent cyber espionage threat to U.S. Government and private sector networks. China’s cyber pursuits and export of related technologies increase the threats of attacks against the U.S. homeland, suppression of U.S. web content that Beijing views as threatening to its control, and the expansion of technology-driven authoritarianism globally.”

Additional findings from the report include the following:

  • China almost certainly is capable of launching cyber attacks that would disrupt critical infrastructure services within the United States, including against oil and gas pipelines and rail systems. China leads the world in applying surveillance and censorship to monitor its population and repress dissent.
  • China’s cyber-espionage operations have included compromising telecommunications firms, providers of managed services and broadly used software, and other targets potentially rich in follow-on opportunities for intelligence collection, attack, or influence operations.

Almost every military, economic, and cyber-security expert agrees that China is America’s biggest long-term strategic threat. China wants to be what the United States has been for the past century—the world’s leading superpower, and it will use every available resource it has to achieve this lofty goal. Its military is growing, its economy is modernizing, and its technology capabilities are rapidly improving. China is on the move, and the United States should be very concerned in terms of its long-term impact.

China’s defense spending is second only to that of the United States. It recently built and launched its first aircraft carrier. It’s developing advanced defense systems. It’s also establishing overseas military bases. President Xi Jinping has grand ambitions for his military, such as a pledge to fully complete the modernization of China’s armed forces by 2035, and by 2050, he wants a military in place capable of winning wars all throughout the world.

Perhaps the most ominous reflection regarding China came from FBI Director Wray, who stated that “China’s goal, simply put, is to replace the US as the world’s largest global superpower.”

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