US Accused China of the Microsoft Exchange Hack

On Monday, the Biden administration blamed China for the Microsoft Exchange hack that compromised tens of thousands of computers all over the world this year. 

The U.S. and other groups of allies formally accused China of the cyberattack.

The Biden administration made the statement with a group of partners and allies. This includes Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, the European Union, and NATO.

According to a senior Biden official, this is the first time NATO condemned the cyber activities of China. But, according to a senior administration official, no one can change the behaviors of China in cyberspace. Also, neither can one country acting on its own can change this. 

The senior administration official later added that the allies and partners of the United States are a huge source of strength and present a unique advantage. This is true, particularly when it comes to the collective approach in tackling cyberthreat. 

In January, the first identified Microsoft Exchange hack was associated with Chinese cyberspies and private groups. 

On the other hand, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry asked about the Microsoft Exchange hack. Previously, the spokesperson told the Associated Press that the Chinese government firmly opposes cyberattacks and cyber theft in any form.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry also gave a warning. This warning asserts that cyber-attack accusations should be backed up by evidence and should not be based on groundless allegations. 

On Tuesday, Chinese diplomats also labeled the accusations as “groundless and irresponsible.” They then accused the U.S. of being the “world champion” of cyberattacks. 

Senior administration official: The Chinese government is using contract hackers in conducting criminal cyber operations

However, the Biden administration and other allied nations also revealed a broad range of other cyber threats coming from Beijing. This includes ransomware attacks from hackers affiliated with the government. These hackers targeted companies in exchange for millions of dollars. 

According to an administration official, China’s Ministry of State Security uses criminal contract hackers to conduct illegal cyber operations around the world for their own personal gain.

The official also added that the criminal activities they conduct range from cyber-enabled extortion to crypto-jacking and targeting victims for profit. 

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Justice Department announced charges against the four Chinese nationals who were working with the Chinese Ministry of State Security in a hacking operation that targeted dozens of computer systems. This includes systems at government entities, companies, and universities. 

In a statement, Lisa Monaco, the Deputy Attorney General, said that these criminal charges again emphasized how China uses cyberattacks to steal what other countries refer to as a blatant disregard of bilateral and multilateral commitments.

On the other hand, Biden likened the Microsoft Exchange hacking with the cyberattacks that originated from Russia. He stated that although the Chinese government might not be directly responsible for the criminal activities, they are protecting the criminals.