Deputy Director at The Asia Program Michael Kugelman warned China is in a good position to stage attacks against its enemies. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Kugelman said China and President Xi Jinping could be looking to hurt its enemies when they are weakest, dealing with the coronavirus crisis. He added a well planned cyber attack could cause disaster in the US without fear of losing soldiers or being held accountable.
Mr Kugelman said: “Nation-states are always looking to hit their enemies where it hurts.
“Cyber attacks can obviously have major impacts on the economy, politics and society in world that has never been so connected by telecommunications.
“The world of the internet has never been more prominent and the power of telecommunications has never been more pronounced.”
Mr Kugelman highlighted the massive destruction could be caused by a major cyber attack.
He said: “If you carry off a spectacular cyber-attack you can cause some spectacular damage for your nemesis.
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“In a worst-case scenario, China would be able to carry out a cyber attack that essentially destroys air-traffic control systems at airports around the US.
“All of a sudden you have got all these planes in the air and you have got air traffic control having no way of communicating with them, obviously increasing the risk of crashes.”
Mr Kugelman reflected on other benefits China would have from staging cyber attacks now while countries deal with coronavirus.
He said: “Another thing that China gets out of cyber attacks is that it is a fairly cost-free way to deliver a blow to its enemy.
“You don’t have to worry about losing troops and there is also plausible deniability.
China has consistently urged the United States to stop what it sees as virus slander.
The US should stop wasting time in its fight against the coronavirus and work with China to combat it, rather than spreading lies and attacking the country, the Chinese government’s top diplomat Wang Yi said in early May.
Wang said: “Regretfully, in addition to the raging coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the United States.
“This political virus is using every opportunity to attack and smear China.
“Some politicians have ignored the most basic facts and concocted too many lies about China and plotted too many conspiracies.”