The US & the allies have accused the Chinese Govt of masterminding a severe cyber-attack on Microsoft Exchange servers earlier this year, affecting at least 30K businesses globally. The hacking was blamed on a hacking group sponsored by the Chinese state, Hafnium. A senior official said that the American Govt had assurance that the Exchange hackers were paid by China.
The Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) has been pinned on for more comprehensive surveillance activity & a broader reckless behavioral pattern. Other countries that accused China are NATO, New Zealand, Australia, Japan & Canada. UK govt stated that the attack was to enable large-scale spying - obtaining intellectual property & personal data.
The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) added that the Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) team has aimed at the maritime sectors & naval defense contractors in Europe and America. At the same time, the APT30 attacked govt officials, including the 2020 Finnish parliament. A security source mentioned that the cyber-workers employing under the control of Chinese intelligence came to know about the Microsoft flaws & were racing to exploit them before being identified in the public domain.
Ransomware & Cyber-attacks have increased lately, with hackers targeting giant companies. This year alone, attackers have targeted the US's critical oil pipeline & biggest meat provider, though, in both scenarios, the team responsible are thought to be Eastern Europe. Additionally, Russia was held accountable for the SolarWinds hack 2020, which breached numerous US federal govt officials & to which the country responded with the latest economic sanctions.
However, the US publicized that no similar sanctions for China for its active role in the cyber-attack. Instead, the US Dept of Justice announced criminal charges against China's MSS 4 hackers for a multi-year campaign focusing on foreign officials & govts in crucial sectors in at least a dozen countries.
Image Source: Microsoft