US and allies blame China for global cyber-hacking campaign

File photo: In the illustrative photo from July 12, 2017, the computer code is displayed onscreen above the Chinese flag.Reuters / Thomas White / Illustration / File photo

July 19, 2021

Steve Holland and David Shepherdson

Washington (Reuters) – The United States and the Allies accused China’s Homeland Security Department on Monday in a global hacking campaign. Specifically, he blamed the massive Microsoft attack disclosed earlier this year for hackers acting on Beijing’s behalf.

The United States has worked with NATO, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada to open up new areas of tension with China, according to the fact sheet. information from the White House released Monday morning. Level.

“The United States and countries around the world hold the People’s Republic of China responsible for irresponsible, destructive and volatile behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to our economy and national security. “Bring on,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Said in a statement Monday.

Also on Monday, the US Department of Justice launched a global hacking campaign targeting dozens of US and international businesses, universities and government agencies from 2011 to 2018, focusing on information that would significantly benefit businesses. Chinese. Announced that four Chinese have been charged. And business.

A new frontier for the government hacking war is opened by Joe Biden at summits in Cornwall, Britain and Brussels, where G7 and NATO leaders argue that China has raised a systematic challenge to the world order. A month after reaching an agreement with the president.

According to Blinken, the government has officially admitted an intrusion that exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange Server that was disclosed to the Chinese Ministry of Homeland Security as a “cyber actor” in March.

He cited the accusations of three guards and hackers as an example of how the United States imposes consequences.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Chinese officials have previously said that China is also a victim of hackers and opposes all forms of cyberattacks.

US federal agencies, including the National Security Council, the FBI, and the National Security Agency, have described more than 50 technologies and procedures used by “Chinese state-sponsored actors” to target US networks. A senior government official said.

According to a 31-page U.S. cybersecurity advisory viewed by Reuters, Chinese state-owned cyber actors scan target networks for critical and advanced vulnerabilities within days of disclosure of the vulnerability. ..

US officials said China was surprised at the extent and scale of hacking caused by China, in addition to using “criminal hackers.”

“China’s Ministry of National Security (MSS) has fostered an ecosystem of criminal hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own financial gain,” Blinken said. I go.

In recent months, the United States has garnered a lot of attention from Russia accusing Russian cyber hackers of a series of ransomware attacks in the United States.

In an announcement on Monday, US officials “confidently” accused the Chinese government of hacking that used Microsoft’s email service to attack US businesses and government agencies. Microsoft has already accused China of being responsible.

This operation notably exploited the weaknesses of Microsoft’s exchange program, a popular messaging software. Cyber ​​security experts were shocked by the scale and volume of the incident, resulting in thousands of potential American victims in total.

A senior official in the Biden administration said U.S. concerns over China’s cyber activities were raised by senior Chinese officials. “We do not intend to rule out further actions to hold China to account,” officials said.

The United States and China have already emerged because of trade, the strengthening of the Chinese military, the crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, the treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the invasion of the South China Sea.

The Byden administration on Friday issued a recommendation to warn U.S. companies of the risks to their businesses and operations in Hong Kong after China imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong last year.

(Report by Steve Holland and David Shepardson, Supplementary Report by Lisa Lambert and Doina Chiacu, edited by Lincoln Feast and Chizu Nomiyama)

US and allies blame China for global cyber-hacking campaign

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