US formally blames China for massive Microsoft hack

Last February, thousands of businesses that used Microsoft Exchange were hacked by a Chinese hacker group. Now, after months of deliberation, the US and UK have formally accused the Chinese government of ordering the attack.

As Microsoft's Exchange software is used worldwide by militaries and governments, including the US, many countries are against China. On Monday, the United States joined a substantial group of countries to blame the Chinese government for the cyber attack.

US blames China for Hafnium Microsoft hack

On February 28th, the potential espionage hack was discovered by users of Microsoft Exchange. Conducted by a Chinese hacker group known as Hafnium, the attack was quickly deemed to have nefarious intentions. The Hafnium hack was so brutal that the US' FBI personally helped to remove the jaguar malware from company servers.

Today, the US has formally blamed the Chinese government for ordering the attack on Microsoft. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken stated that China “has fostered an ecosystem of criminal contract hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own financial gain.”

He continued:

“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.”
via NY Times

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The UK and NATO join in

The United States isn't the only force blaming China for the mass Microsoft hack. America joins a strong group of allies, including the United Kingdom and all of NATO. Despite many European Union countries having strong trade relations with China, the EU publicly chastised the country.

 Following the attack, NATO released a statement commanding China to stop their cyber attacks:

“We call on all states, including China, to uphold their international commitments and obligations and to act responsibly in the international system, including in cyberspace.”

China was last caught in a cyber attack back in 2014. The country used a cyber attack to steal more than 22 million security clearance files from the United States' Office of Personal Management. The country has not been sanctioned.

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