The U.S has shown great concern over the hack on Microsoft’s Exchange email software. The tech company blames China for this Microsoft hack. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, mentions it as an active threat. He said that all those running these servers would have to act to patch them. Microsoft states that their hackers have used the mail server for attacking their targets. According to a report, this active threat can impact thousands of organizations in the U.S.
The United States has accused the Chinese government of cyber-espionage, but Beijing has denied it. Jen Psaki has said that the White House is concerned that there are several victims. Psaki added that the vulnerabilities in the server of Microsoft would have a far-reaching impact.
According to the US National Security Council, organizations that have a vulnerable server must take immediate measures.
About the Microsoft hack
This breach was revealed in a blog post by Microsoft executive Tom Burt. Mr. Burt stated an update for countering the security flaws that helped the hackers enter the Microsoft exchange servers. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center has attributed these attacks to a state-sponsored threat actor from China, and they named it Hafnium. Microsoft reported that Hafnium tried to steal information from higher education institutions, defense contractors, law firms, and infectious disease researchers. Chinese Government’s spokesperson told Reuters that China was not behind this hacking, and he also stated that Beijing rejects all the accusations of cyber-crime by the U.S.
Reuters have stated that over 20,000 organizations were compromised in the U.S. alongside other organizations from other parts of the world. In the blog post, Tom Burt mentioned that around 30,000 organizations across the U.S. were hacked by Chinese hackers who wanted to steal email from the organizations.
Microsoft took measures
After the news of the breach spread, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released an emergency directive that addressed the agencies and departments for urgent action. The White House National Security Adviser, Mr. Jake Sullivan, urged all the network owners to download all the security patches.
Microsoft did not confirm the reported figures, but Microsoft stated that they were working closely with US government agencies in another statement. They also stated that they were introducing some mitigation techniques for those who could not use upgrades timely. But they also said that if the exchange servers were already compromised, they wouldn’t be a remedy, nor will these techniques be full-proof protection.
For the past 12 months, it is the 8th time that Microsoft has publicly accused nation-state groups of targeting the institutions that are important for civil society. According to Microsoft, this attack was not related to the Solar Winds attack, which struck the U.S government agencies at the end of last year. According to Microsoft, Hafnium is from China, but they conduct their operations from leased virtual private servers in the U.S.
Presence of China
The relationship between the U.S tech firms and the Chinese government is considered tumultuous, but Microsoft has still maintained a mainland presence since 1992. As compared to Facebook and Twitter, the business-oriented social media platform, LinkedIn can be accessed easily in China without any restrictions. A famous search engine, Bing, can be accessed in China with ease, but their local search engine Baidu dominates the market.