The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it was joining “like-minded partners” in confirming that state-backed Chinese actors are responsible for accessing computer networks around the world through Microsoft Exchange servers. . The attacks took place earlier this year, affecting more than a quarter of a million servers around the world. In a scathing attack on China, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said the cyberattack by “Chinese state-backed groups” was part of a “reckless but familiar pattern of behavior.”
“The Chinese government must end this systematic cyber sabotage and can be expected to be held accountable if it does not. “
The Foreign Office warned that the attack was “very likely to allow large-scale espionage, including the acquisition of personally identifiable information and intellectual property.”
At the time of the data breach earlier this year, “the UK promptly provided advice and recommended actions to those affected and Microsoft said by the end of March 92% of customers had patched the vulnerability “.
Close allies such as the United States, NATO and the European Union have supported this attribution.
Hacking of servers set off huge alarm bells as hackers left victim networks open to further attacks from criminals.
NCSC officials said it was “almost certain” that the hack was initiated and exploited by a Chinese state-backed player.
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Separately, the Foreign Ministry also said that it attributed the Chinese State Security Ministry’s responsibility for activities known to cybersecurity experts as “APT40” and “APT31”.
The APT40 group has been accused of targeting maritime industries and naval defense contractors, while APT31 has been accused of targeting government entities, including the Finnish parliament, and politicians.
The Foreign Ministry added in a press release on the British government’s website that the Chinese government had “ignored repeated calls to end its reckless campaign, instead allowing its state-backed actors to increase ‘the extent of their attacks and to act recklessly when taken’.
China is urged by the international community to “take responsibility for its actions and respect democratic institutions, personal data and business interests of those with whom it seeks to associate.”
The Foreign Ministry said, “The Chinese government has ignored repeated calls to end its reckless campaign, instead allowing its state-backed actors to increase the scale of their attacks and act recklessly when ‘they are taken.
“This coordinated action today sees the international community urging the Chinese government once again to take responsibility for its actions and respect democratic institutions, personal data and the business interests of those with whom it seeks to partner. .
“The UK calls on China to reaffirm the commitment made to the UK in 2015 and within the framework of the G20 not to lead or support cyber theft of intellectual property of trade secrets. “
THIS IS A STORY OF BREAKTHROUGH. MORE SOON…