China blames Microsoft Exchange for cyberattacks
Update July 20, 2021
China is engaged in “irresponsible, disruptive and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace,which poses a major threat to the economy and security” of the United States and its partners, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
“The Chinese government must stop its systematic cyber-sabotage and must be held accountable if it does not do so”
added British foreign minister Dominic Raab.
According to the United States, NATO, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand join this strong condemnation, which is not, however, accompanied by the announcement of sanctions or reprisals. In a cautious statement, however, NATO said it would take note of the American or British statements on China and to express its solidarity with them.
“We call on all States, including China, to respect their obligations (…) including in cyberspace,”the Organization said.
Microsoft email hacking
According to a cybersecurity expert:
“At least 30,000 organizations have been hacked in recent days by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit, which focuses on email theft, according to multiple sources”
This group of hackers called “Hafnium” used security vulnerabilities in Exchange messaging services to steal the confidential data of business users.
Tens of thousands of businesses and institutions in the United States have suffered these attacks and this was not the first time. According to the giant Microsoft, these hackers had already targeted the United States in the past, in the field of infectious disease research and on NGOs.
Microsoft asks its users to update their email
Microsoftchief executive Tom Burt said the company had released corrective updates to fix security flaws in its email. It calls on its users to be vigilant and to make these security updates:
“We know that many state actors and criminal groups will act quickly to take advantage of any uncorrected system,” he warned.
“Applying patches quickly is the best protection against this attack.”
Chinese hackers are said to have focused on collecting confidential emails. In order to protect Users of Exchange Messaging,Microsoft quickly deployed patches.
The group is asking organizations using emailto install these updates as soon as possible.
Cyberattack reportedly originated in China
According to Microsoft,the players in this cyberattack would operate through private virtual servers rented in the US, but “Hafnium” would be based in China.
Already last year, following accusations from Washington, Beijing had accused the United States of defamation for suspicions of computer hacking aimed at stealing information about coronavirus research.
In January, the accusation was denied and U.S. authorities eventually named Russia as the prime suspect in the hack.
Microsoft said the Hafnium attacks had nothing to do with the previous hacking.
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