China shot back at accusations by the US and its allies that Beijing was behind a series of ransomware attacks and the hacking of Microsoft’s email server this spring, dismissing the charge as “made up out of thin air” and claiming that America “is the world champion of malicious cyber attacks.”
“The United States ganged up with its allies to make unwarranted accusations against Chinese cybersecurity,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday.
“This was made up out of thin air and confused right and wrong. It is purely a smear and suppression with political motives.”
“China will never accept this,” Zhao threatened.
The White House on Monday said the FBI and the National Security Agency have “high confidence” that Beijing’s Ministry of State Security contracted with hackers who used vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Exchange Server to carry out the cyberattacks in April, as well as conducting a campaign of ransomware attacks against private companies “for their own personal profit.”
The US was joined by Britain, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, NATO and the European Union to expose China’s “malicious cyber activities,” the White House said in a statement, noting that this is the first time NATO has criticized China’s cyber activities.
The Chinese embassy in New Zealand called the claims “totally groundless and irresponsible.”
The embassy in Australia accused Canberra of “parroting the rhetoric of the US.”
“It is well known that the US has engaged in unscrupulous, massive and indiscriminate eavesdropping on many countries including its allies,” the embassy said. “It is the world champion of malicious cyber attacks.”
Also on Monday, the Justice Department announced charges against four Chinese nationals who were working with the Ministry of State Security to hack into the computer systems of dozens of companies, universities and government entities in the US and abroad between 2011 and 2018.
“The indictment … alleges that much of the conspiracy’s theft was focused on information that was of significant economic benefit to China’s companies and commercial sectors, including information that would allow the circumvention of lengthy and resource-intensive research and development processes,” the Justice Department said.
The Chinese foreign ministry called for Washington to drop charges against the four.
“China firmly opposes and combats any form of cyberattacks, and will not encourage, support or condone any cyberattacks,” Zhao said.
He went on to accuse the CIA of hacking China’s aerospace research facilities, oil industry, internet companies and government agencies that “severely compromised” national security.
“China once again strongly demands that the United States and its allies stop cyber theft and attacks against China, stop throwing mud at China on cybersecurity issues and withdraw the so-called prosecution,” he said. “China will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard China’s cybersecurity and interests.”
With Post wires