The United States, European Union, U.K., and NATO have explicitly accused China of malicious cyber attacks, including a massive hack targeting Microsoft.
In an official release published Monday, the U.S. and partners claim that China has used contracted hackers to carry out unsanctioned cyber activities globally, including cyber espionage campaigns and ransomware invasions.
“The PRC’s track record of irresponsible actions in cyberspace is inconsistent with its declared objective of being seen as a responsible leader in the world. Today, Nations around the world are making it clear that their concern regarding the PRC’s nefarious cyber behavior is bringing them together to call out those activities, protect networks and cybersecurity, and take steps to disrupt threats to national interests.” the United States and partners say in the press release.
Microsoft’s Exchange email server software was hacked in March, affecting thousands of companies.
The U.S. and partners did not go as far as imposing sanctions against China, as they did with Russia following the 2016 presidential election and the SolarWinds hack in 2020.
The European Union issued a similar statement on Monday, saying it has discovered “malicious cyber activities with significant effects that targeted government institutions and political organisations in the E.U. and member states, as well as key European industries.”
“These activities (…) have been undertaken from the territory of China for the purpose of intellectual property theft and espionage,” the report says.
China has not issued a statement yet, though the A.P. points out that a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson previously spoke on the topic of the Microsoft Exchange hack, calling the accusations “groundless.”