China has branded the US as the “biggest threat to global cybersecurity,” more than a week after Washington publicly accused Beijing of an attack on Microsoft’s Exchange email server software that compromised tens of thousands of computers worldwide.
The United States is the “empire of hacking and theft of secrets,” and the "biggest threat to global cybersecurity,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, said on Thursday, China Daily reported.
Wu said the US has conducted mass-scale cyber espionage, surveillance and attacks on foreign governments, companies and individuals for years, calling on the international community to push back against the US cyberbullying and to urge it to explain its spying operations.
He made the remarks in response to a recent report that said the US National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service to spy on European officials.
According to the report, published in May by Denmark’s national broadcaster DR News, the NSA purposefully obtained data enabling it to clandestinely spy on targeted heads of state, as well as neighboring Scandinavian leaders, top politicians, and high-ranking officials in Germany, Sweden, Norway, and France.
Wu hinted at similar leaks published by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden as well as the CIA using Swiss encryption devices to spy on others, saying such facts have proved that the US is regarded around the world as “the empire of hacking and theft of secrets.”
Further, the US has spared no effort in militarizing cyberspace and developing its own cyberattack capability, he said, adding that the nation has the world’s biggest cyberattack arsenal with over 2,000 tools at its disposal.
“The US should stop creating tension and animosity in global cyberspace,” Wu asserted. “China will take all measures necessary to safeguard the country’s cyber sovereignty, information security and social stability.”
Last week, China accused the US of mounting cyberattacks against the Chinese government and scientific, aviation and other technical institutions for the past 11 years.
Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said last Tuesday that the US launches the greatest number of cyberattacks around the world each year, citing a 2020 report of Chinese internet security firm 360 that identified the CIA as the culprit behind the hackings of key Chinese companies and government institutions for more than a decade.
The remarks came a day after the US accused China of a cyberattack earlier this year that compromised tens of thousands of Microsoft Exchange email accounts, which China quickly denied any involvement in.
“Stop pouring dirty water,” said Zhao, adding that the allegations were “borne out of nothing” and “solely serve the political purpose of smearing and suppressing [China].”
The rivalry between the US and China has intensified in recent years, with Beijing’s growing international clout and rapid economic progress emerging as a viable counter-weight to the US.