On Monday, July 19, the US and its allies accused China of a global cyberespionage campaign, rallying an unusually broad coalition of countries behind a proposal that Beijing vehemently opposed. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand joined the US in criticizing the snooping, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described as "a grave threat to our economic and national security." The claim was "fabricated out of thin air," according to Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry. Zhao claims it was an allegation made for political goals. Some of Monday's remarks appeared to be direct blows. While the United States and its key allies, including the United Kingdom and Canada, blamed the Chinese government directly for the hacking, others were more cautious. NATO just stated that its members "acknowledge" the claims made against Beijing by the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The EU said it was encouraging Chinese officials to stop "malicious cyber actions conducted from its territory," leaving open the possibility that the Chinese government was not responsible for the espionage. Microsoft, in particular, was a common thread in the talk about the attacks. This is the first time the state of Washington and other US allies have placed blame for the Microsoft Exchange attack, which affected over 100,000 systems around the world. Microsoft claimed in March that a Beijing-backed hacker group had hacked its Exchange servers by exploiting multiple previously undiscovered holes in the software.
The US added oil and gas targets to their allegation. According to a report released by President Joe Biden's administration, Chinese cyber hackers were behind attacks on dozens of US oil and natural gas pipeline businesses a decade ago. From 2011 to 2013, 23 natural gas pipeline operators were targeted for spear-phishing and intrusion activities, with 13 confirmed compromises and three near-misses, according to the research. According to an alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, seven people were subjected to an unknown level of infiltration (CISA). From late December 2011 through at least February 29, 2012, “Chinese actors” began sending spear-phishing emails to personnel of oil and gas companies, according to the alert. The emails were designed with a high level of complexity in order to persuade the recipients to examine dangerous files, according to the report. The outcome remains to be seen, however, the world knows that Cybersecurity is crucial for any country to stay safe within its borders.