US, EU and NATO accuse China of Microsoft Exchange hack

The United States, the European Union, NATO and several other allies have jointly accused China of the Microsoft Exchange hack earlier this year. The allies speak out against China’s ‘malicious cyber activities’.

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The various allies say, among other things, that they accuse and criticize China for “malicious cyber activities”. The United States has spoken out against the cyber attacks from China and also claims that hackers with ties to the Chinese Ministry of State Security are responsible for the Microsoft Exchange Server hack. That hack came to light in early March . Microsoft already claimed that Chinese hackers had exploited these vulnerabilities.

In addition to the US, the European Union , the United Kingdom , NATO , Canada , Australia , New Zealand and Japan have all issued separate statements. These countries collectively criticize and condemn China’s cyber behavior in general, blame that country for the Exchange hacks of earlier this year and criticize the country for that hack.

Condemnation by US allies

It is the first time that NATO has spoken out against China’s cyber activities, a White House spokesman said . The EU also speaks out in a statement against the hacking attempts by China, which, according to the Union, is, among other things, aimed at espionage and theft of intellectual property.

“Today, the EU and its Member States, together with partners, are exposing malicious cyber activities that have seriously damaged our economy, security, democracy and society in general,” writes EU Head of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union . “The EU and its Member States believe that these malicious cyber activities were undertaken from the territory of China.”

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The various countries and agencies want to continue to act jointly against the activities, the US reports. The group will continue to exchange intelligence on cyber threats and collaborate on network defense and cybersecurity. The US also says that it does not necessarily expect the joint decision to change China’s behavior.

Speaking to US journalists, a US official said a public condemnation of China would have limited leverage to prevent future attacks. “We do not rule out further actions to hold China accountable, but are also aware that a single action cannot change China’s behavior, nor can a country acting on its own. agency aimed at getting other countries with us,” CNBC is quoted as saying .

The US also says that the US Department of Justice is indicting four state hackers from the Chinese Ministry of State Security. They allegedly ran a campaign between 2011 and 2018 to hack into computer systems belonging to American companies, government agencies and universities.

The Microsoft Exchange Hack

The countries also elaborate on the Microsoft Exchange hack, which was made public on March 3, when Microsoft closed four zero days in Exchange Server. The tech giant already stated at the time “with great certainty” that Chinese hacker group Hafnium would have abused the exploits. The vulnerabilities allowed hackers to access email accounts via on-premise servers running Exchange versions 2013 to 2019. The attacks would target American victims, Microsoft reported in March.

The FBI, CISA and CIA are expected to share more details about the Exchange hack later today. These US security agencies would come up with “more than 50 tactics, techniques and procedures” that Chinese hackers use “when they attack networks of America and allies.”

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It is already known that the FBI has been granted permission through the courts to access unpatched systems and remove code elements allegedly left behind by the Chinese hackers to enable follow-up attacks, The New York Times writes .