Microsoft cyberattack came from China, White House says

The U.S. and many allies Monday accused China of backing cyberattacks against public and private entities, including the March strike against Microsoft (MSFT) .

The allies include the European Union, the U.K., NATO, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The attacks include ransomware, data theft and cyberespionage, the countries said.

“The United States has long been concerned about the People’s Republic of China’s irresponsible and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace,” the White House said in a statement.

“Today, the United States and our allies and partners are exposing further details of the PRC’s pattern of malicious cyber activity and taking further action to counter it, as it poses a major threat to U.S. and allies’ economic and national security.”

Further, “The United States is deeply concerned that the PRC has fostered an intelligence enterprise that includes contract hackers who also conduct unsanctioned cyber operations worldwide, including for their own personal profit,” the White House said.

“Hackers with a history of working for the PRC Ministry of State Security (MSS) have engaged in ransomware attacks, cyber-enabled extortion, crypto-jacking, and rank theft from victims around the world.”

As for Microsoft, the U.S. has “a high degree of confidence that malicious cyber actors affiliated with PRC’s MSS conducted cyber espionage operations utilizing the zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server,” the White House said.

The Justice Department is charging four Ministry of State Security hackers for a multiyear campaign targeting foreign governments and entities in key sectors, including maritime, aviation, defense, education, and health care in a least a dozen countries.

At last check shares of the Redmond, Wash., software giant were off 0.6 per cent at $ 278.96 (U.S.).

Meanwhile, China announced new cybersecurity reviews on its own technology companies earlier this month.

TORONTO STAR