Forget AT&T’s Outage:  Rubio Warns of a Nightmare Cyber Threat from China

Rich Koele /
Rich Koele /

In an alarming declaration that has reverberated through the corridors of power and across the digital expanse of the nation, Senator Marco Rubio has cast a glaring spotlight on the fragile underpinnings of American infrastructure amidst the looming shadow of potential cyber warfare.

After the recent AT&T service interruption that left many Americans disconnected, Senator Rubio took to social media to draw attention to a looming cyber threat from China. Rubio’s warning was particularly alarming, given the increasing tensions over Taiwan. He emphasized that the potential cyber-attack could be devastating and of unimaginable scale. Rubio’s statement on X suggested a scenario that would be “100 times worse” than the AT&T outage.  “And it won’t be just cell service they hit, it will be your power, your water and your bank.”

Senator Rubio cautioned that a potential attack would have devastating effects beyond just disrupting cell service. He painted a grim picture of a nation brought to its knees, with critical services such as power grids, water supply systems, and financial networks crippled. The recent AT&T service outages have raised concerns about the strength of American digital and infrastructure defenses against cyber threats. The company has blamed the outages on a technical glitch, but still, this raises questions about the security of its systems.

While the AT&T incident was ultimately not the result of a cyberattack, it served as a potent reminder of vulnerabilities, igniting public discourse and concern amidst a backdrop of stern warnings from top security officials about the escalating threat posed by Chinese cyber operations. Christopher Wray, along with leaders from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), has been at the forefront, sounding the alarm on the intensifying danger presented by Chinese cyber activities. Their advisories, which caution about Chinese cyber actors keenly targeting U.S. critical infrastructure, emphasize the acute and pressing danger to national security.

In a particularly sobering testimony before Congress, Wray unveiled a scenario where Chinese hackers, wielding a digital arsenal unparalleled by any other major nation, target not just military and political assets but also civilian infrastructure. This strategic positioning by Chinese cyber forces indicates preparatory moves for potential conflict, placing the cybersecurity threat in a starkly personal light for Americans nationwide.

The exposure of malicious software within U.S.-based routers by Volt Typhoon, identified as a Chinese-backed cyber threat actor, underscores the depth and breadth of the challenge. CISA Director Jen Easterly’s comments highlight a broader, deeply concerning threat landscape, emphasizing how Chinese hackers exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. infrastructure with alarming ease, often due to corporate security complacency.

American companies must take immediate action to strengthen their cyber defenses in strict compliance with CISA’s guidelines. It is imperative that any and all cyber incidents are reported without delay. This is a critical and urgent matter that demands a resolute and forceful response to safeguard the nation against the imminent danger of cyber warfare.


The scope of Chinese cyber intrusions into American life is broad, with targets including a water utility in Hawaii, a major West Coast port, and at least one oil and gas pipeline. These intrusions, part of a concerted effort to develop capabilities for inducing panic, chaos, or logistical nightmares in the event of a U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan, reveal a sinister intent. The hackers’ focus on Hawaii, home to the Pacific Fleet, along with at least one strategic port and logistics center, suggests a calculated plan by the Chinese military to disrupt U.S. military efforts in the Pacific.


As the American public and its institutions confront these daunting challenges, the warnings from Senator Rubio and top security officials stand as a stark reminder of the urgent need to fortify the nation’s cyber defenses. The interconnectedness and dependencies that define modern American life are under threat, highlighting a critical juncture at which addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities against adversaries seeking to exploit them becomes not just a matter of national security but a pressing imperative for the continuity of societal functions and the preservation of the American way of life.