China Under Fire: State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks Target Political Decision-Makers in the UK, US, and NZ

Understanding the Chinese Hacking Scandal

The British Deputy Prime Minister revealed to MPs in the House of Commons that both the UK Electoral Commission’s systems and private devices of several parliamentarians were hacked. According to the National Center for Cybersecurity, the cybercriminals behind the attacks were most likely working on behalf of the Chinese government. This was seen as a clear signal of hostile intentions from China.

The US Department of Justice also confirmed that the same hackers conducted cyber attacks in the USA, targeting various government departments and members of Congress. The New Zealand government also confirmed that their Parliament server was a victim of state-sponsored cyber activity attributed to China. These attacks took place between 2021 and 2022.

The US Department of Justice identified the hacker group as “APT 31”, operating out of Wuhan, China. The group is believed to have ties to the Chinese Ministry of National Security and has been responsible for cyber operations targeting critics of the Communist Party and stealing business secrets. The group used phishing emails to gain access to sensitive information from companies in key sectors.

Political decision-makers in all three affected countries, including members of cross-party committees dealing with China, were targeted by the hackers. The extent of the attacks on these individuals has raised concerns about cybersecurity and foreign interference in political affairs. Sanctions were imposed on the hackers and their associated companies by both UK and US governments.

China denied involvement in the cyber attacks and criticized the sanctions imposed by UK and US governments. The Chinese Embassy in London stated that they do not interfere in internal affairs of other countries and suggested that current governments would be judged by their actions soon rather than their words. This escalation highlights growing concerns over cybersecurity and foreign influence on political processes, emphasizing urgent need for stronger international cooperation on this issue.

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