China has grown more sophisticated in its cyber capabilities and is now considered a direct "peer" of the United States after years of lagging behind, a senior law enforcement official told Fox News.
The official also said there is growing U.S. concern about the so-called "hybrid threat," in which governments contract out cyberattacks to criminal entities who are selling their services. The purpose is for the entities to act as proxies or cut-outs to create plausible deniability.
After the 2016 presidential election, the FBI created a special task force to focus on foreign influence and election meddling, following efforts by the Russians to interfere in that contest.
The official said there is every expectation the Russians will try again to interfere in U.S. elections, warning that new technology will open the door to new tactics.
Meanwhile, at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg argued that Russian efforts to divide and weaken the alliance have failed.
He also said the alliance is now contributing more defense dollars -- about $100 billion -- after President Trump ramped up the pressure on other countries.
“President Trump has been very clear on the importance of increased defense spending and I have said and I can repeat here that that very clear message is having an impact,” Stoltenberg said. “The good news is that after years of cutting defense budgets, all allies are now increasing defense spending.”