Chinese hackers are looking at ways of cutting communications between the U.S. and Asia in the event of a crisis, Microsoft believes.
Security experts for U.S. tech-giant Microsoft have warned that state-backed Chinese hackers are now targeting critical pieces of U.S. communications infrastructure in stealth-based attacks.
The multinational believes the ultimate aim of the attacks may be to disable communications between the U.S. and its allies in Asia in the event of a serious crisis between China and the Western world, such as a possible future invasion of Taiwan.
From a military perspective cutting communications, or even just slowing or constraining information, between the United States and allies in Asia in the case of a surprise attack could help achieve an early advantage.
In a press release published on Wednesday, Microsoft warned that bad actors from the state-sponsored Volt Typhoon hacking group had used sophisticated hacking techniques to access essential infrastructure in Guam — an American overseas territory — as well as the United States proper.
The group is described as employing hacking methods that leave little to no code on the hard drives or permanent storage of compromised devices, making it very difficult to detect the hack once it is in progress, as well as defend against it in certain circumstances.
“Observed behavior suggests that the threat actor intends to perform espionage and maintain access without being detected for as long as possible,” the Microsoft press release reads, speculating that such sleeper hacks could become active when needed.
“As with any observed nation-state actor activity, Microsoft has directly notified targeted or compromised customers, providing them with important information needed to secure their environments,” the release goes on to say.
Microsoft’s warning has been backed with a joint cybersecurity advisory from various spy agencies across the Western world such as America’s NSA and the UK’s GCHQ, which has warned private companies to be aware that their infrastructure could end up the target of CCP security agents.
Authorities in China meanwhile have not taken kindly to these warnings, with one Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece accusing Western nations of spreading lies about his country.
“The United States is expanding new channels to spread disinformation,” diplomat Mao Ning remarked on Thursday. “This is not the first time, and it will not be the last.”
Meanwhile, the country’s embassy in Washington D.C. also dismissed the accusations, accusing Western countries of distorting the truth.
“The allegation by the US side that the Chinese government is ‘supporting hacking’ is completely distorting the truth,” one spokesman for the embassy said.
UC Berkeley repeatedly neglected to inform the U.S. government of its massive deal with China, which involves the communist country funding a highly sensitive $240 million joint tech venture that has been running for the last eight years. https://t.co/NnvosV5NnP
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 23, 2023
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