The U.S. government and Microsoft Corporation warned Chinese hackers on Tuesday that they have infiltrated “critical infrastructure” worldwide and have been actively attacking defense and security organizations.
Microsoft said that the “attacker appears to be a Chinese government-affiliated actor.” The hackers have infiltrated networks of aerospace and energy companies, nuclear power stations, defense contractors, and financial institutions.
Microsoft noted that even though the attackers had not yet done substantial damage, they posed a significant threat to the private and public sector networks due to their sophisticated techniques.
In a joint statement, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Microsoft President Brad Smith said the attacks were “a reminder that malicious state-sponsored cyber activity is a danger to all nations and all businesses, regardless of size or sector.”
The statement went on to say, “We are deeply concerned by this campaign and its potential implications for our mutual security. We must come together to take concerted actions against these disruptive cyber activities that threaten the security and stability of our digital infrastructure.”
The statement did not specify which nation was the target of the attacks, but pointed to the Chinese government as the culprit. The two entities urged everyone to “ensure that their networks are secure and that they take appropriate steps to protect against further intrusions or attacks.”
“It is a sign of the increasingly sophisticated threats we all face, and it shows why we must all work together to protect our shared digital infrastructure from malicious state-sponsored actors,” the joint statement continued.
The statement concluded with a promise to take immediate action to protect organizations and networks from further disruption. Microsoft said it is developing new technologies to help protect against the attacks and will continue to work with the government to address the issue.