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China Put On Notice, US and Allies Call Out 'Malicious Cyber Activity'

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The U.S. and other major world powers are joining forces and confronting China for malicious, state-sponsored, cyber-attacks. It's the largest condemnation of China's cyber activity to date. 

The accusation is that China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) has been working with criminal hackers to profit from stolen, sensitive, government material. That includes intellectual property as well as military, political, and economic information. 

"No country poses a broader, more severe intelligence collection threat than China," said FBI Director Chris Wray.

Back in March, initial blame for a hack on Microsoft Exchange email servers went to a relatively unknown Chinese espionage network. Now, the U.S. and NATO allies point to evidence that those hackers worked directly with MSS. 

These countries are also pledging to join forces to expose more of China's cyberattacks.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasted China in a statement, writing, "Responsible states do not indiscriminately compromise global network security, nor knowingly harbor cybercriminals - let alone sponsor or collaborate with them."

Meanwhile, the DOJ is charging four Chinese nationals in a hacking offensive targeting dozens of companies, universities, and government agencies. 

The indictment, made public Friday, revealed that "aviation, defense, education, government, health care, bio-pharmaceutical and maritime," industries were all among the industries targeted. 

The indictment also noted that "at research institutes and universities, the conspiracy targeted infectious-disease research related to Ebola, MERS, HIV/AIDS, Marburg, and Tularemia."

U..S intelligence agencies have released a cybersecurity advisory detailing tactics and techniques used by China to exploit networks. The hope is that exposing this information will alert potential victims to steps they can take to protect their systems.

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