User suggest seo friendly title for it under8 words:The United Kingdom accuses the Chinese state of cyberattacks against elected officials and institutions

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A few months before the British legislative elections, London accused the Chinese state on Monday of having carried out cyberattacks against parliamentarians critical of Beijing and against the United Kingdom Electoral Commission, announcing sanctions and a summons of the Chinese ambassador.

In response, the Chinese embassy in Great Britain denounced “totally unfounded” accusations and “malicious slander”.

This affair comes on top of a succession of crises between the two countries in recent years, a far cry from the “golden age” desired in 2015 by former British Prime Minister David Cameron, now Minister of Business. foreign.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden came to Parliament to announce that “actors affiliated with the Chinese state” had committed “two malicious cyber actions”. “This is the latest in a series of hostile activities by China, which includes targeting democratic institutions and parliamentarians in the United Kingdom and other countries,” he said.

Seven pirates indicted by Washington

Monday afternoon, the American government for its part announced the indictment of seven computer hackers associated with the Chinese government, accused of “computer intrusions targeting people perceived as critics of China, American companies and policies”.

And on Tuesday, New Zealand accused a Chinese “state-backed” group of carrying out a cyberattack on services in its Parliament in 2021. The group, according to the national cybersecurity agency, is known as of “APT40”.

According to the Minister of Defense, responsible for the protection of government communications, Judith Collins, the attack was repelled and the group was incapacitated. “New Zealand stands with the United Kingdom in its condemnation” of Chinese cyber activities, according to a government statement. Beijing has once again denounced “baseless” accusations.

“No impact”

The British Electoral Commission, which supervises elections in the United Kingdom, announced in August 2023, without naming China, that it had been the victim of a “complex” cyberattack from “hostile actors”, who had access to its system for more than a year between 2021 and 2022. The attack allowed access to servers containing in particular copies of electoral registers with the data of 40 million voters, according to British media.

But according to Oliver Dowden, these “attempts to interfere in the democracy of the United Kingdom have not succeeded”. The intrusion “did not impact election security” and will have “no impact on how people register, vote or participate in democratic processes,” he said.

But to show its firmness a few months before the general elections in the United Kingdom, which must take place by the end of the year, “the Foreign Office will summon the Chinese ambassador to report on the conduct of China in these incidents,” said Oliver Dowden.

Sanctions

Two individuals and an organization will thus be subject to sanctions for their “involvement in malicious cyber activities”, in the United Kingdom but also elsewhere in the world. They are Zhao Guangzong and Ni Gaobin, both members of the hacker organization APT31, affiliated with Beijing according to experts, as well as the Wuhan company Xiaoruizhi Science and Technology, a “front” of this organization according to the British government.

They were at the same time sanctioned by the United States, the American Department of Justice announced on Monday. Zhao Guangzong, Ni Gaobin and five other Chinese nationals were also charged with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusions” and “electronic fraud”.

In July 2021, APT31 would have carried out “reconnaissance activities” in order to find targets among British parliamentarians. “An APT31 email campaign was blocked using Parliament’s cybersecurity protocols,” Dowden said.

Asked about the accusations Monday before the announcement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian responded that it should be based on “objective evidence” rather than “defaming other countries without factual basis.” , not to mention politicizing cybersecurity issues.

Wanting to be reassuring, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared that the United Kingdom would do “what is necessary” to ensure its security and protect itself in the face of the “historic challenge” posed by an “increasingly assertive” China.

In September 2023, Rishi Sunak had already denounced to his Chinese counterpart Li Qiang “interference” from Beijing in Parliament in Westminster, after the revelation of two arrests for espionage that had occurred six months previously.

But for certain MPs from both the majority and the opposition, the United Kingdom’s response to China, which comes three years after these hacking acts, still remains too moderate. “The mountain gave birth to a mouse,” blasted Iain Duncan Smith, an influential conservative MP sanctioned by China for criticizing the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority, who called on London to crack down by directly sanctioning Chinese political leaders.

This article is originally published on letemps.ch

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