US Blames China for Huge Microsoft Hack

Other nations join in finger-pointing over breach that hit computers worldwide
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2021 6:59 AM CDT
US Blames China for Huge Microsoft Hack
In this file photo, a Microsoft computer is among items displayed at a Microsoft store in suburban Boston.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

The Biden administration on Monday blamed China for a hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software that compromised tens of thousands of computers around the world earlier this year, per the AP. The Justice Department announced charges against four Chinese nationals who prosecutors said were working with the Ministry of State Security in a hacking campaign that targeted dozens of computer systems, including companies, universities, and government entities. The European Union and Britain also pointed the finger at China. The EU said malicious cyber activities with “significant effects” that targeted government institutions, political organizations, and key industries in the bloc’s 27 member states could be linked to Chinese hacking groups. The hack was first identified in January.

The Biden administration and allied nations also disclosed a broad range of other cyberthreats from Beijing, including ransomware attacks from government-affiliated hackers that have targeted companies with demands for millions of dollars. The announcements highlighted the ongoing cyberthreat posed by Chinese government hackers even as the administration has been consumed with trying to curb ransomware attacks from Russia-based syndicates that have targeted critical infrastructure, including a massive fuel pipeline. Even though the finger-pointing was not accompanied by any sanctions of Beijing, a senior administration official said that the US has confronted senior Chinese officials and that the White House regards the multination public shaming as sending an important message.

(Read more China stories.)

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