Understanding the Chinese hacking scandal

On Monday, the British Foreign Secretary confirmed to MPs in the House of Commons that both the British Electoral Commission’s systems and the private devices of several parliamentarians had been hacked. The cybercriminals responsible were believed to be working on behalf of the Chinese government, according to the National Center for Cybersecurity. The UK government concluded that this demonstrated hostile intentions from China.

The US Department of Justice revealed more details of the cyber attacks, stating that the same hackers targeted the White House, judicial, commercial, and financial sectors in the USA, as well as several members of Congress from both parties.

In addition to these attacks, the New Zealand government also confirmed that their Parliament server had fallen victim to state-sponsored cyber activity linked to China. All three governments reported attacks that occurred in 2021 and 2022.

A public indictment from the US Department of Justice identified the hacker group responsible as “APT 31”, operating out of Wuhan, China. The group is linked to the Chinese Ministry of National Security and has targeted critics of the Communist Party, as well as stealing business secrets.

The hackers primarily used phishing emails to gain access to personal data, passwords, and even internet routers of their victims. Political decision-makers, particularly those involved in committees dealing with China, were targeted in all three countries. The extent of the attacks on political figures is alarming, with both the UK and US imposing sanctions on those involved.

The Chinese government condemned

By Sophia Gonzalez

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