IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

UK blames China for Microsoft Exchange Server attack

Dominic Raab calls on the Chinese government to put an end to this "systematic cyber sabotage"

The UK government has accused China of being behind the Microsoft Exchange Server attack that is estimated to have affected more than a quarter of a million servers worldwide, of which 7,000 were based in the UK.

First reported in early March, the attack was found to have been led by state-backed hackers, specifically the Chinese-based Hafnium and at least 10 other hacking groups.

The UK government has now formally accused the Chinese Ministry of State Security of being behind the attack, claiming it ordered Hafnium, APT31, and APT40, also known as Leviathan, to orchestrate it.

It, along with counterparts in Europe and the US, also accused the Chinese government of ignoring “repeated calls to end its reckless campaign, instead allowing its state-backed actors to increase the scale of their attacks and act recklessly when caught” and urged it “to take responsibility for its actions and respect the democratic institutions, personal data and commercial interests of those with whom it seeks to partner”.

This includes reaffirming its 2015 commitment to “not to conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property of trade secrets”.

Commenting on the announcement, foreign secretary Dominic Raab described the attack as “a reckless but familiar pattern of behaviour”.

Related Resource

How to increase cyber resilience within your organisation

Cyber resilience for dummies

Cyber resilience for dummies - How to improve cyber resilience within your organisation - whitepaper from MimecastDownload now

“The Chinese government must end this systematic cyber sabotage and can expect to be held account [sic] if it does not,” he said.

The EU joined the UK in condemning the Chinese government for the Exchange attack, stating that APT31 and APT40’s “irresponsible and harmful behaviour” had affected its “economy, security, democracy and society at large”.

“The EU and its member states strongly denounce these malicious cyber activities, which are undertaken in contradiction with the norms of responsible state behaviour as endorsed by all UN member states. We continue to urge the Chinese authorities to adhere to these norms and not allow its territory to be used for malicious cyber activities, and take all appropriate measures and reasonably available and feasible steps to detect, investigate and address the situation,” the EU Council said.

It also stated that it would “continue to enhance our cooperation, including with international partners and other public and private stakeholders, through increased exchange of information and continued diplomatic engagement, by strengthening cyber resilience and incident handling cooperation, as well as through joint efforts to improve the overall security of software and their supply chains”.

Featured Resources

Activation playbook: Deliver data that powers impactful, game-changing campaigns

Bringing together data and technology to drive better business outcomes

Free Download

In unpredictable times, a data strategy is key

Data processes are crucial to guide decisions and drive business growth

Free Download

Achieving resiliency with Everything-as-a-Service (XAAS)

Transforming the enterprise IT landscape

Free Download

What is contextual analytics?

Creating more customer value in HR software applications

Free Download

Recommended

What is cyber warfare?
Security

What is cyber warfare?

20 May 2022
Mastering endpoint security implementation
Security

Mastering endpoint security implementation

18 May 2022
The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update
Whitepaper

The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update

12 May 2022
Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history
Server & storage

Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history

4 May 2022

Most Popular

Europe's first autonomous petrol station opens in Lisbon
automation

Europe's first autonomous petrol station opens in Lisbon

23 May 2022
Nvidia pauses hiring to help cope with inflation
Careers & training

Nvidia pauses hiring to help cope with inflation

23 May 2022
Windows 11's nifty new search feature has one major downside
Microsoft Windows

Windows 11's nifty new search feature has one major downside

23 May 2022