WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on July 19, reprimanded China for its pattern of irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to the economy and national security.

Responding to the People’s Republic of China for destabilizing and irresponsible behavior in cyberspace, Blinken said, the United States and countries around the world are holding the People’s Republic of China accountable.

“The People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security has fostered an ecosystem of criminal contract hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own financial gain.”

“The United States government, alongside our allies and partners, has formally confirmed that cyber actors affiliated with the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server in a massive cyber-espionage operation that indiscriminately compromised thousands of computers and networks, mostly belonging to private sector victims,” Blinken said in a statement.

Ned Price, the U.S. Department of State spokesperson, tweeted about the same. 

“Beyond the compromise of Microsoft Exchange Server, the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security cultivated an ecosystem of criminal hackers harmful to people and organizations globally. Today, we join allies and partners to call out this irresponsible behavior,” read the tweet

Meanwhile, Blinken replied to his tweet. 

“The United States has joined countries around the world in condemning the People’s Republic of China for its pattern of irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to our economic and national security,” read Blinken’s tweet

Moreover, three MSS officers and one of their contract hackers unsealed by the Department of Justice were indicted today, and the U.S. has decided to impose consequences on People’s Republic of China malicious cyber actors for their irresponsible behavior in cyberspace.

Apart from the People’s Republic of China’s direct commitments not to engage in cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property for commercial gain, the international community has laid out clear expectations and guidelines for what constitutes responsible behavior in cyberspace.

Blinken emphasized that the responsible states do not indiscriminately compromise global network security nor knowingly harbor cybercriminals—neither sponsor nor collaborate with them.

“The contract hackers cost governments and businesses billions of dollars in stolen intellectual property, ransom payments, and cybersecurity mitigation efforts, all while the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security had them on its payroll,” said Blinken.

Further, Blinken reiterated that the United States is working with partners and allies to promote responsible state behavior in cyberspace, counter cybercrime, and oppose digital authoritarianism.

“We are also providing support to countries that are committed to building their capacity to protect their digital networks, investigate and impose consequences on malicious cyber actors, and participate in international conversations on cyber policy,” Blinken said. 

“These efforts will enhance global security and stability in cyberspace. The State Department is committed to driving this agenda forward, and we call upon all states that wish to see greater stability in cyberspace to join us in these efforts.” 

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Amrita Das and Pallavi Mehra)



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