China denies being responsible for cyber-attacks and extortion of thousands of government agencies and businesses via ransomware. The Chinese embassy in New Zealand has dismissed the allegations as “baseless and irresponsible”.
In March, hackers attacked about 30,000 organizations in the United States thanks to a hole in Microsoft’s e-mail platform Exchange Server. There were even hundreds of thousands of organizations worldwide. Banks, telecom providers, the police, utilities, hospitals, and local governments were among those affected.
Immediately after the attack, China was already looked at, and the US and Europe said yesterday that they can formally attribute the attack to perpetrators linked to the Chinese government, which has now formally denied it.
The European Union and the United States, among others, said yesterday that they are charging China for the hack. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan also hold the country responsible, and Microsoft itself also pointed to Chinese hackers shortly after the revelations of the attacks.
The hackers allegedly operated from China. They would have been after espionage, the theft of trade secrets, and ransom money.
The US claims that the hackers were on the payroll of the Chinese Ministry of State Security. “Countries that behave responsibly are not knowingly harboring cybercriminals, let alone supporting or collaborating with them,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said yesterday.
The Chinese embassy in New Zealand today called the claims “baseless”, “irresponsible” and “malicious”. Moreover, according to the Chinese embassy in Australia, the US is the “world champion” in cyber attacks. It is the US that has been guilty of wiretapping in the past, “including among its own allies,” the embassy said in a statement.