Australia Australia joins international community in blaming China for large scale Microsoft hack
China was blamed for the Microsoft Exchange hack, but the consequences might end there
A global coalition says China's hacking campaigns must stop, but pointing the finger over January's Microsoft Exchange attack seems the only consequence for now.The hack exposed tens of thousands of organisations across the world and allowed both Chinese security agencies — as well as criminal groups allegedly working with them — to access vast troves of valuable data and intellectual property.
Australia has joined the United States and other allies in accusing China of engaging in "malicious cyber activities", including a massive global hack on the Microsoft Exchange software that compromised tens of thousands of computers earlier this year.
In a joint statement, the Ministers for Home Affairs Karen Andrews, Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Defence Peter Dutton also expressed serious concern about China's reported use of criminal hackers.
"The Australian Government is seriously concerned about reports from our international partners that China's Ministry of State Security is engaging contract hackers who have carried out cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for personal gain and to provide commercial advantage to the Chinese Government," the statement said.
China Warns Joe Biden His Southeast Asia Moves 'Sabotage' Peace and Stability
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the latest U.S. remarks offering support to ASEAN "deliberately stoke disputes on territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests."Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated Wednesday in a virtual summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the first such high-level engagement nearly six months into the new U.S. administration.
"Australia calls on all countries – including China – to act responsibly in cyberspace."
The Microsoft Exchange hack was first identified in January and was rapidly attributed to Chinese cyber spies by private sector groups.
But it has taken until now for Australia, and like-minded countries, to publicly attribute the cyber attack to Beijing.
"These actions have undermined international stability and security by opening the door to a range of other actors, including cyber criminals, who continue to exploit this vulnerability for illicit gain," the Australian government said in a statement.
The United States said it was joining other nations in "holding the People's Republic of China accountable" for what it described as a "pattern of irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilising behaviour in cyberspace".
Chinese Foreign Official Says U.S. Dominance in 'Decline' But Will Be Hard to Overtake
China's foreign vice minister, Le Yucheng, said the U.S. continued to represent the strongest, most powerful nation in the world, but that the country was suffering from an idealogical perspective. "The U.S. decline is not a decline in strength but a decline of hegemony," Le said, according to the South China Morning Post. "No matter a country's strength, hegemonic power is bound to wither, hegemony is not popular." Nonetheless, Le continued by stating that the U.S. was "still a strong and large nation in the number one spot," and that "it will be hard to overtake it over a relatively long period of time.
"The United States government … has formally confirmed that cyber actors affiliated with the MSS (China's Ministry of State Security) exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server in a massive cyber espionage operation that indiscriminately compromised thousands of computers and networks, mostly belonging to private sector victims," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
"Responsible states do not indiscriminately compromise global network security nor knowingly harbour cyber criminals — let alone sponsor or collaborate with them.
"These contract hackers cost governments and businesses billions of dollars in stolen intellectual property, ransom payments, and cybersecurity mitigation efforts, all while the MSS had them on its payroll."
UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said Chinese state-backed groups were responsible for "a pervasive pattern of hacking".
US blames Microsoft Exchange hack on affiliates of Chinese government
The Biden administration, joined by allies and partners, on Monday blamed China for the hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software that compromised tens of thousands of computers around the world earlier this year. The administration made the announcement with a group of allies and partners, including the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and NATO. CHINA EXPANDS INFLUENCE AS IT WARNS OF NATIONS OF ‘BROKEN HEADS’ IF THEY INTERVENE A Biden administration official said this is the first time NATO has condemned China's cyber activities.
"The cyber attack on Microsoft Exchange Server by Chinese state-backed groups was a reckless but familiar pattern of behaviour," Mr Raab said in a statement.
"The Chinese Government must end this systematic cyber sabotage and can expect to be held account if it does not."
The European Union also blamed China for what it said were malicious cyber activities with "significant effects" that targeted government institutions and political organisations in the EU and its 27 member states, as well as key European industries.
In a statement, the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the hacking was "conducted from the territory of China for the purpose of intellectual property theft and espionage".
Since 2017, the Morrison government said Australia had publicly attributed malicious cyber activity to North Korea, Russia, China and Iran.
China military ‘drove away’ US warship in South China Sea .
US move comes on anniversary of a tribunal ruling that says Beijing has no claims over the South China Sea.The USS Benfold entered the waters of the Paracels without the approval of the Chinese government, seriously violating China’s sovereignty and undermining the stability of the South China Sea, the People’s Liberation Army’s Southern Theater Command said.