25th May 2023 – (Beijing) The Chinese government has rejected claims made by the United States and its allies that Chinese spies are penetrating Western infrastructure. The joint warning issued by the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand was called a “collective disinformation campaign” by Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning. Mao claimed that the alerts were intended to promote the intelligence alliance between these countries, known as the Five Eyes, and said that Washington was guilty of hacking.
This reaction follows a series of warnings issued by Five Eyes countries and major US tech firm Microsoft Corp regarding the activities of a Chinese hacking group named Volt Typhoon. The group has been accused of spying on a wide range of U.S. critical infrastructure organisations, including telecommunications and transportation hubs. Microsoft’s report revealed that the espionage has also targeted Guam, a US island territory home to strategically important American military bases, and warned that “mitigating this attack could be challenging.”
Analysts are particularly concerned about Volt Typhoon‘s focus on critical infrastructure, including communications links that tie the U.S. to the Pacific. The group’s focus on stealthiness is also drawing attention, with cybersecurity company Secureworks stating that they have responded to at least three Volt Typhoon hacks. The company described the group as working consistently to cover its tracks and backed Western assessments of the group’s origins, saying that the hacker group, which it nicknamed “Bronze Silhouette,” likely operates on behalf of Beijing.
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has stated that it is working with partners, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK, as well as the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, to identify breaches. The Chinese government has approved a wide-ranging expansion of its counter-espionage law, indicating that it is taking espionage seriously.
The issue of cyber espionage has become increasingly contentious as countries rely more heavily on technology and digital infrastructure. The U.S. and its allies have accused China of being one of the most significant threats to their cybersecurity, with Chinese hackers stealing sensitive information and intellectual property from Western companies.