The United States of America and other allies have accused the Chinese Government of the first time of hiring gangs of hackers to carry out cyberattacks. Attacks that impute to China also include the recent Microsoft Exchange hack. This cyberattack by the gang of hackers has given access to the e-mail servers of around 30,000 organizations from the US alone.
Hafnium, a hacking group which is sponsored by the Chinese state was initially blamed for the Microsoft Exchange attack. In a briefing, an official from the White House told that the US Government had high confidence that Exchange hackers were being paid by the Chinese Government.
“China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) uses criminal contract hackers to conduct unauthorized cyber operations globally. Which benefits their own personal profits. These operations include criminal activities such as cyber-enabled extortion, crypto-jacking, and theft from victims around the world for financial gains,” said an official from the White House while briefing. The accusation on the Chinese Government was by the US, Europe, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and NATO.
Cyberattacks and ransomware incidents have been on the rise in recent years, with gangs of hackers apparently targeting larger organizations. This year alone, hackers have targeted America’s largest meat supplier and a key oil pipeline, though in both cases the groups responsible are thought to be based in Eastern Europe, and most likely Russia. Russia was also blamed for 2020’s SolarWinds hack, which breached a number of US federal government entities, and to which the US responded with new economic sanctions.
The most notable aspect of today’s accusation is instead the broad coalition of countries that are publicly condemning China. It is also the first time the military alliance NATO has formally accused the country of organizing cyberattacks.