The United States has accused China of hacking Microsoft

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The United States has accused China of hacking Microsoft

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration will formally accuse the Chinese government on Monday of violating Microsoft’s e-mail system, according to a senior administration official. The United States is also prepared to organize a wide-ranging group of allies, including all NATO members, to condemn Beijing for cyber-taxing around the world.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that the United States is expected to accuse China for the first time of paying criminal groups for large-scale hacking. This includes ransomware attacks to extort millions of dollars from companies. Microsoft pointed out in March that hackers affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security had exploited holes in the company’s e-mail system. The US announcement will detail the methods used, and is the first suggestion that the Chinese government hired criminal gangs to operate on its behalf.

Condemnation by NATO and the European Union is unusual, as most of its member states are reluctant to publicly criticize China, a key trading partner. But even Germany, whose companies were hit hard by the hacking of the Microsoft Exchange – e-mail system – e-mail systems that companies maintain rather than cloud.

Despite being widespread, the announcement will lack concrete punitive measures against the Chinese government, such as the White House, which imposed sanctions on Russia in April, when it imposed sanctions on the country for influencing US government agencies and solar windmills. Accused of massive attack and more than 100 companies.

By imposing sanctions on Russia and organizing allies to condemn China, the Biden administration has gone deeper into the digital Cold War with its two main geopolitical opponents than at any time in modern history.

While there is nothing new about digital espionage by Russia and China – and Washington’s efforts to stop it – the Biden administration is surprisingly aggressive in calling on both countries to respond in a coordinated manner.

Most external experts say that, so far, the right combination of defensive and offensive measures has not been found. And Russian and Chinese courage has grown stronger. The Solar Winds attack, the most sophisticated in the United States so far, was an attempt by Russia’s leading intelligence service to convert code into widely used network management software so that 18 Access to more than 1,000 businesses, federal agencies and think tanks.

China’s effort was not so sophisticated, but it took advantage of the threat that Microsoft did not use to undermine espionage and the security of the system that companies use for their core communications. A senior administration official said experts told the Biden administration that “high confidence” could be developed that Microsoft’s e-mail system had been hacked at the behest of the State Security Ministry, and that the administration’s Private officials took advantage of them. Chinese intelligence services were hired.

The hacking affected tens of thousands of systems, including military contractors.

The last time China was subjected to such widespread surveillance was in 2014, when it stole more than 22 million security clearance files from the Office of Personnel Management, which claimed the lives of Americans. I could have allowed a deeper understanding that is clear to sustain the nation. Secret

At his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva last month, President Biden promised to strengthen the government by focusing on cybersecurity. But his administration has faced questions about how it will address the growing threat from China, especially after the public exposure of Microsoft hacking.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, a senior administration official acknowledged that public condemnation of China would do much to prevent future attacks.

“No move can change China’s behavior in cyberspace,” the official said. “Nor can a single country work on its own.”

But the decision not to impose sanctions on China was also telling: it was a move that many allies would not agree to.

Instead, the Biden administration largely agreed with the allies to join China’s public condemnation, in order to put more pressure on Beijing to reduce cybersecurity.

The joint statement issued by the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, Japan and New Zealand, criticizing China, is “extremely broad.” This is NATO’s first statement on targeting cybercrime in Beijing.

The National Security Agency and the FBI are expected to reveal more details about Chinese “tactics, techniques and procedures” in cyberspace on Monday, such as Beijing’s alleged financial gain from criminal gangs, the official said. Agrees to attack.

The FBI has taken an unusual step in hacking Microsoft: In addition to investigating the attacks, the agency obtained a court order ordering it to move into a shaky corporate system and remove these elements of code that Chinese hackers possess. Was allowed to allow follow-up attacks. . This is the first time the FBI has carried out an immediate attack as well as investigating its perpetrators.

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