The Biden administration publicly blamed hackers affiliated with China’s main intelligence service for a far-reaching cyberattack on Microsoft Corp. email software this year, part of a global effort by dozens of nations to condemn Beijing’s malicious cyber activities.
The U.S. government has high confidence that hackers tied to the Ministry of State Security, or MSS, carried out the unusually indiscriminate hack of Microsoft Exchange Server software that emerged in March, senior officials said.
Attributing the Microsoft hack to China was part of a broader global censure Monday of Beijing’s cyberattacks by the U.S., the EU, the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, a 30-nation alliance.
Biden administration officials called the collective condemnation the largest international effort yet to criticize Beijing’s state-sponsored hacking.
The indictment didn’t appear directly related to the Microsoft Exchange Server breach, but accused the hackers of stealing information from dozens of companies and universities around the world about Ebola virus research, maritime research and other topics.
Cybersecurity experts have been pressing the Biden administration for months to respond to China’s alleged involvement in the Microsoft email hack.
“The Microsoft Exchange hacks by MSS contractors is the most reckless cyber operation we have yet seen from the Chinese actors-much more dangerous than the Russian SolarWinds hacks,” said Silverado’s Mr. Alperovitch, referring to the widespread cyber-espionage campaign detected last December that, along with other alleged activities, prompted a suite of punitive measures against Moscow.