A day after being accused by the United States and allied nations of instigating a global campaign of cyberattacks and digital espionage, China used the same resource to attack rivals.
The Chinese version of the Global Times (or Huanqiu, in Mandarin), a newspaper linked to the People’s Daily, the official vehicle of the Chinese Communist Party, published on Tuesday (20) that the United States is behind hacker attacks against Chinese factories, universities and establishments.
Without indicating the source of the information and with few details on the cases, the Chinese vehicle listed three episodes in which American criminals allegedly removed pages from the air and used techniques to discover passwords, among others. attacks.
Discovered in August 2020, the first attack reportedly targeted 119 targets, mainly at universities in Guangzhou and Beijing provinces, according to the Global Times.
The largest invasion was discovered in October of the same year, when another group allegedly attacked 2,426 servers, targeting the Communist Party, government institutions, a metallurgical company, an auto industry and universities, according to the newspaper.
The third group, also identified in October last year, according to the vehicle, attacked 993 servers at universities in Guangzhou, Shanxi and Ganxi provinces.
The Chinese accusations came a day after the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, the European Union and NATO (Western military alliance), in a rare, broad and coordinated against Beijing, accused the Xi Jinping government of sponsoring digital espionage. .
According to these countries, China is behind attacks against Microsoft, as well as other targets in South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Malaysia, among others, with the aim of stealing trade secrets and confidential information on aviation, defense, education, government, biomedicine and naval production.
The international version of the Global Times did not republish the text which contains the three accusations of hacker attacks, but the Chinese diplomatic corps has spared no effort to reverse the narrative in the West.
The spokesperson for the Chinese mission to the European Union, for example, said China is a strong supporter of digital security and is cracking down on attacks from within. “The allegations of the European Union and NATO are not based on facts and evidence, but on speculation and unfounded accusations,” he said.
Calling the accusations “hypocrisy”, the Chinese mission said that “for years a certain Western country has abused its technical advantages to spy, massively and indiscriminately, even the allied countries, at the same time, pose as guardians digital security “.
The agency said China is “the biggest victim of cyber attacks,” and that in 2020 more than 5 million servers in China have been checked have fallen victim to around 52,000 hacker attacks, with three countries of NATO behind these crimes said, without mentioning what they are. “It seriously affects the national security, economic and social development and the life of the Chinese people,” he said, saying that “politicization and stigma do not help solve digital security problems, it does only weakens cooperation and mutual trust “.
The swap of accusations comes amid revelations by media vehicles that governments around the world are using spyware against journalists, opponents and activists. The list of possible targets also includes heads of state, such as Presidents Emmanuel Macron (France) and Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), as well as the King of Morocco, Mohammed 6th, and WHO Director-General, Tedros. Adhanom.
The names were on a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been targets of the Pegasus program, developed by the Israel-based NSO group. The software allows data extraction from cell phones, eavesdropping on private conversations and even activating the device’s camera and microphone without the user realizing it. The company has been under investigation by the FBI, the US Federal Police, at least since 2017, for suspected data theft.