Biden Administration, Allies, Accuse China of Microsoft Exchange Server Hack

White House
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The U.S., joined by NATO and the European Union, is accusing China of contracting with criminal hackers to conduct global cyber extortion, crypto currency hijacking and theft around the world, including the cyber campaign against the Microsoft Exchange Server exposed in March. that's according to a senior administration official speaking on background.

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It is the first time NATO has condemned PRC cyber activity, according to the official. Other countries joining in the effort comprise the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan.

They official the Administration and its allies are highly confident that that Microsoft cyber attack can be linked to the People's Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of State with a high degree of confidence.

The Administration has confronted China about the Microsoft incident and other malicious activity, they said, making clear that such actions threaten the security and stability of cyberspace.

The official said that while the Administration is working around the clock to modernize federal networks and improve cybersecurity more broadly and remains committed to promoting "open, interoperable, reliable and security internet."

One way it said it was doing that was to move to a secure cloud environment. "By exposing the PRC’s malicious activity with allies and partners, we're continuing the administration’s efforts to inform and empower system owners and operators to act at home and around the world," the official said.

The perceived influence of the PRC on Chinese tech companies is one of the big reasons the U.S> is moving toward an Open RAN model for networks.

For example, back in April, a bipartisan group of senators led by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.)  called on President Biden to put $3 billion toward funding Open Radio Access Network (ORAN), so those equipment vendors can compete in the 5G market with Chinese network tech suppliers.

And more recently, the President made that move to ORAN part of his May executive order on cybersecurity. 

“Today’s news makes clear: state-sponsored cyberattacks that threaten our national security and economic stability will be traced and found," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Cyberattacks aren’t a uniquely American problem; our allies are also grappling with a barrage of cyberattacks coming from our foreign adversaries. It’s why I have long called for building international cyber norms to confront our shared cyber vulnerabilities and why I’m pleased to see joint recognition from our NATO and EU allies about this threat. I applaud the Biden administration for publicly exposing the actions of these Chinese state-sponsored actors, pursuing diplomatic cooperation on these threats and for taking additional steps to bolster our cyber defenses. As we take these first steps in an international effort to confront these challenges, there’s still more work to do to address our cyber vulnerabilities.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.