The United States and its allies accused China of being behind a global digital spy campaign, in a rare and widespread public movement on Monday (19). In addition to the United States, complaints have also been filed by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada.
The US government used harsh language. “China’s State Security Ministry has fostered an ecosystem of hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own benefit,” said Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State. “This is a huge threat to our economy and our national security.”
The United States has accused the Chinese of several attacks, including one against Microsoft servers. Government officials have identified more than 50 techniques that would be used by the Chinese in such actions. The operations would be used to steal trade secrets and confidential information in areas such as aviation, defense, education, government, biomedicine and marine production. The targets would be in countries like South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Cambodia, the United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom. Swiss.
The US Department of Justice has prosecuted four Chinese – three security officials and a hacker – for actions against dozens of companies, universities and government sectors in the United States and abroad.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington has not commented on the matter. On previous occasions, Chinese officials have said the country is against digital attacks and is often a victim of them as well.
Experts point out, however, that the charges may not be successful if concrete action is not taken. “It was a successful effort of friends and allies to attribute the actions to Beijing, but it’s not very helpful if it isn’t followed up with concrete actions,” said Adam Segal, cybersecurity expert at Council on Foreign Relations.
In recent years, the United States has accused Russia of being behind digital attacks on the country’s businesses and government. The Russian government has always denied any involvement.
Attacks on digital servers are on the rise, and the United States has been hit particularly hard in recent months by operations targeting large companies like Brazilian beef giant JBS and pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline, as well as local communities and hospitals.
The accusation against China came a day after a media consortium reported that governments in at least 10 countries were using spyware against journalists, opponents and activists.