The United States, as well as its Western allies, along with Microsoft, said this week that state-funded Chinese hackers have breached vital US infrastructure systems and warned that similar espionage attempts may be happening all over the world.
Microsoft singled out Guam, a US island in the Pacific Ocean with a crucial military presence, as one of the targets but said that other US locations have also been the focus of “malicious” activities.
The long-term spying was made possible by the stealthy assault, which has been conducted by a China-sponsored actor known as “Volt Typhoon” since mid-2021, and was probably intended to harm the United States if there were conflicts in the area, it added.
“Microsoft assessed with moderate certainty that this Volt Typhoon effort is pursuing the creation of abilities that might interfere with vital communication infrastructure involving the United States as well as the Asia region amid future crises,” the statement said.
“The campaign’s impacted businesses are from a variety of industries, including government, information technology, manufacturing, transportation, marine, utility, construction, education, and communications.”
Microsoft’s announcement came at the same time as a warning issued by officials in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK warned that the hacking was probably taking place worldwide.
“The authoring agencies claimed that this activity impacts networks throughout US vital infrastructure sectors, and that the actor might use the exact same methods against these as well as additional sectors worldwide.”
The Microsoft study was called “extremely unprofessional” followed by “scissors-and-paste work” by China, which refuted the accusations.
Speaking of the security alliance between the US and its Western partners that produced the study, foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, “It is obvious that this is a collective misinformation effort of the Five Eyes coalition nations, sponsored by the US for its geopolitical aims.
“The involvement of certain businesses indicates that the US is expanding new channels for disseminating misinformation aside from government organizations,” she said.
“But no tactical shift will erase the reality that the US is an empire of hackers.”