The Biden administration does not hesitate to blame China for a series of Microsoft Exchange cyber attacks. The White House has stated “with a high degree of confidence” that hackers linked to China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) were responsible for a digital espionage campaign exploiting the Exchange’s vulnerabilities. Officials have confronted former Chinese leaders with this hostile “online” activity, the White House said.
The United States has further accused China of conducting an intelligence operation that relies on “contract hackers” who often launch attacks aimed solely at profit, such as ransomware schemes and crypto jacking. The Chinese government’s willingness to tackle these abuses is believed to damage businesses, governments and infrastructure with “billions of dollars” in damage, the White House said.
Consequently, the Department of Justice has palisade allegations of four Chinese men affiliated with MSS for allegedly conducting an extensive piracy campaign aimed at stealing intellectual property and trade secrets, including health investigations. The initiative, which ran from 2011 to 2018, would have seen Ding Xiaoyang, Cheng Qingmin, Zhu Yunmin and Wu Shurong engage comptuers around the world to gather information ranging from autonomous vehicle technology and formulas. chemicals up to research on Ebola, AIDS and other diseases.
The Biden administration has already taken a number of actions in response to the attacks, including “proactive network defense actions” such as the removal of gateways to compromised exchange servers. He added private companies to his Unified Coordination Group to bolster its response to security incidents. CISA, the FBI and the NSA have also published a statement outlining China’s strategy for compromising US and allied networks using Exchange forums and other methods.
This comes down to stricter safety rules for pipeline companies as well as a pilot to address vulnerabilities in sectors such as power supply and water.
China has historically denied participation in attacks like these, and it is doubtful that the country will change its mind later. The White House’s effort is rather a warning – the United States will not only attack China, but will respond in kind.
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