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China denies Microsoft hack

Christian Fernsby |
China on Tuesday sharply denied U.S. 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.

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The United States on Monday accused Beijing of carrying out the cyber attack on Microsoft and charged four Chinese nationals over the “malicious” hack in March.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the attack on Microsoft Exchange, a top email server for corporations around the world, was part of a “pattern of irresponsible, disruptive and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to our economic and national security.”

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 United States and abroad between 2011 and 2018.

Pointing to the indictment, Blinken said the United States “will impose consequences on (Chinese) malicious cyber actors for their irresponsible behavior in cyberspace.”

President Joe Biden told reporters the United States 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.


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