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China: US-led hacking allegations fabricated out of nothing

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A man uses his mobile phone as he walks in front of Microsoft's local headquarters in Beijing, China, on July 20, 2021.(Photo by AFP)

China has roundly rejected the "groundless" and "irresponsible" hacking allegations made by the United States and its allies, saying they are "fabricated out of nothing."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian hit back at Washington on Tuesday, calling the US the "world champion" of cyber-attacks.

"The US has mustered its allies to carry out unreasonable criticisms against China on the issue of cybersecurity," he said. "This move is fabricated out of nothing."

In a coordinated move, Washington and several allies in Europe and Asia publicly accused Beijing of hacking the Microsoft Exchange Server software in March. Microsoft Exchange is an email platform used by corporations around the world.

Senior US officials claimed that hackers tied to China's Ministry of State Security carried out the unusually indiscriminate hacking. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that Washington and "countries around the world" are holding China "accountable for its pattern of irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to our economic and national security."

Japanese government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato followed suit on Tuesday, saying that Japanese companies had been targeted by a hacking group called APT40. He alleged that "the Chinese government is highly likely" behind the attack.

Earlier, China's diplomatic missions around the world reacted to the charges.

The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, said the accusations were "totally groundless and irresponsible" and a "malicious smear.”

"Given the virtual nature of cyberspace, one must have clear evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents," said the embassy.

The Chinese mission in Canberra said Australia was "parroting" US rhetoric. It also described the US as "the world champion of malicious cyber-attacks."

The United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) also joined the others in accusing China of carrying out hacking attacks, which they alleged to have targeted an estimated hundreds of thousands of mostly small businesses and organizations.

The Chinese Embassy in Norway also reacted to the allegations made by Oslo, saying that Beijing was a staunch defender of cyber security and was resolutely opposed to any form of cyberattacks.

"It is reasonable to question and doubt whether this is a collusively political manipulation," it said, demanding that Oslo provide evidence for the claims. The embassy said that Beijing was "willing to cooperate with all relevant parties, based on facts and evidence, to jointly combat illegal activities in cyber space."

The US-led global campaign against China is an apparent move to open a new front in cyber offensive following years of blaming Russia for cyberattacks against American organizations. Moscow time and again denied involvement.


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