Crime & Justice

Australia, NZ join allies accusing China of ‘malicious cyber activities’

Sydney, Australia, Jul 20 (EFE).- Australia and New Zealand have joined the United States, the European Union, NATO and other members of the international community in accusing China of “malicious cyber activities,” including March’s global Microsoft cyberattack

Australia called on all countries, including China, to “act responsibly in cyberspace.”

“The Australian Government has determined that China’s Ministry of State Security exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Exchange software to affect thousands of computers and networks worldwide, including in Australia,” said Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, Defense Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne in a joint statement late Monday.

“These actions have undermined international stability and security by opening the door to a range of other actors, including cybercriminals, who continue to exploit this vulnerability for illicit gain.”

The ministers also said they were “seriously concerned about reports from our international partners that China’s Ministry of State Security is engaging contract hackers who have carried out cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for personal gain and to provide commercial advantage to the Chinese government.”

New Zealand’s minister responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Andrew Little, said the administration had established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors and malicious cyber activity in the country and that the GCSB also confirmed the actors were responsible for the exploitation of Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities in New Zealand early this year.

“We call for an end to this type of malicious activity, which undermines global stability and security, and we urge China to take appropriate action in relation to such activity emanating from its territory,” Little said late Monday.

The White House said on Monday that China “has fostered an intelligence enterprise that includes contract hackers who also conduct unsanctioned cyber operations worldwide, including for their own personal profit.”

It highlighted the cyberattack against Microsoft, perpetrated in March and which affected up to 250,000 computer systems, including the European Banking Authority, the Norwegian parliament and the Chilean Financial Market Commission.

The US’ formal condemnation was also joined by the EU, NATO, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan, a coordination with which Washington wanted to build muscle against Beijing and try to dissuade it from continuing with such operations. EFE


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