China yesterday said the US had “fabricated” allegations it carried out a massive Microsoft hack, countering that Washington was the “world champion” of cyber attacks while raging at American allies for signing up to a rare joint statement of condemnation.
The US on Monday accused Beijing of carrying out the March cyber attack on Microsoft Exchange, a top e-mail server for corporations around the world, and charged four Chinese nationals over the “malicious” hack.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the attack was part of a “pattern of irresponsible, disruptive and destabilising behaviour in cyberspace”.
China’s ministry of state security, or MSS, “has fostered an ecosystem of criminal contract hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own financial gain”, Blinken said in a statement.
In a simultaneous announcement, the US department of justice said four Chinese nationals had been charged with hacking the computers of dozens of companies, universities and government bodies in the US and abroad between 2011 and 2018.
President Joe Biden told reporters the US was still completing an investigation before taking any countermeasures, and drew parallels with the murky but prolific cybercrime attributed by Western officials to Russia.
“The Chinese government, not unlike the Russian government, is not doing this themselves, but are protecting those who are doing it, and maybe even accommodating them being able to do it,” Biden told reporters.
In an effort to put the diplomatic squeeze on Beijing, the US co-ordinated its statement on Monday with allies — the European Union, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Nato.
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