US formally accuses China of hacking Microsoft

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Jul 19, 2021, 06:14 PM(IST)

Microsoft logo Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Experts claim that the hackers who penetrated the systems of Microsoft were identified by the US government, and it was revealed that these criminals had ties to China’s Ministry of State Security

Putting several rumours to rest, the US has formally accused China of hacking into the servers of Microsoft. On Monday, the White House condemned the Chinese government for leading "malicious cyber activity".

"The compromise and exploitation of the Microsoft Exchange server undermined the security and integrity of thousands of computers and networks worldwide," the Council of the European Union said in a published statement Monday. "This irresponsible and harmful behaviour resulted in security risks and significant economic loss for our government institutions and private companies, and has shown significant spill-over and systemic effects for our security, economy and society at large."

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Experts claim that the hackers who penetrated the systems of Microsoft were identified by the US government, and it was revealed that these criminals had ties to China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).

White House claims that these hackers with ties to MSS started manipulating the flaw in Microsoft’s Exchange Software in January, and used it to hack into the software. The hack is believed to be a part of China’s larger conventional spying operations.

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"In some cases, we’re aware where [People’s Republic of China] government-affiliated cyber operators have conducted ransomware operations against private companies that have included ransom demands of millions of dollars," the official told local media on condition of anonymity.

While China has not yet commented on the issue, Microsoft has praised the joint statements. "Attributions like these will help the international community ensure those behind indiscriminate attacks are held accountable," Tom Burt said. "Transparency is critical if we’re to combat the rising cyberattacks we see across the planet against individuals, organizations and nations."

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