Chinese attack on American facilities
Western intelligence agencies and Microsoft revealed a large-scale cyberattack targeting “vital” infrastructure in the United States of America. It accused what it called a “cyber actor” backed by Beijing of being behind it.
Cybersecurity authorities in the United States and other Western countries said they had detected a “range of activities” linked to a “state-sponsored cyber actor of the People’s Republic of China, also known as Volt Typhoon.”
In a separate statement, Microsoft confirmed that it had detected “cyber activity” by a Chinese group infiltrating critical infrastructure networks in the United States.
Microsoft also warned that this attack threatens to cause “disruptions to critical communications infrastructures between the United States and the Asian region in future crises,” and Microsoft said: “Mitigating this attack may be a challenge.”
Microsoft added that “the behavior of the attackers indicates that they want to spy and preserve as long as possible their ability to access the infrastructure without being detected.”
Microsoft also announced that the attack targeted the sectors of industry, transportation, construction, marine, education, and government services, and added that the actions of that hacking group focused on intelligence gathering, espionage, and tight control of vital site systems for as long as possible, rather than causing immediate disruption.
In a rare announcement of systems hacking, the US technology group said that, since mid-2021, hackers have targeted critical infrastructure on the US island of Guam, a US military base of strategic importance in the Pacific Ocean.
The US and its allies said the activities include “living off Earth” tactics, which take advantage of built-in network tools to integrate with regular Windows systems.
It warned that hackers could then use their control of systems to issue seemingly “harmless” commands.
Microsoft and security agencies have issued guidelines for organizations to attempt to detect and combat piracy.
China gave no immediate response to the allegations, but routinely denies carrying out state-sponsored cyberattacks.
China, in turn, regularly accuses the United States of carrying out electronic espionage.