UK links series of cyberattacks to China state-affiliated group

26/03/2024 | The Guardian

On Monday, 25 March, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden told MPs that organisations affiliated with the Chinese state were behind the cyberattacks on the Electoral Commission cyberattack in August 2021, which resulted in hostile actors gaining access to the data of millions of UK voters to China as well as a string of attacks targeting several MPs and peers who have been critical of Beijing. 

Dowden said that the latest attacks aimed at UK parliamentary accounts were "wholly unacceptable", and taken together, the actions demonstrated "a clear and persistent pattern of behaviour that signal hostile intent from China." 

In response, Dowden informed MPs that the UK had sanctioned two individuals and one organisation for their involvement in malicious cyber activity and that the government has yet to decide whether to submit China to 'enhanced' scrutiny under the National Security Act. 

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) confirmed that the department had summoned a senior Chinese diplomat and informed him that the UK would "tolerate such threatening activity, and would continue to take strong action with partners across the globe to respond." They went on to say that the UK had "set out the government's unequivocal condemnation of Chinese state-affiliated organisations and individuals undertaking malicious cyber activity against UK democratic institutions and parliamentarians".

In related news, the Washington Post (£) reveals that the US Department of Justice has unsealed an indictment against seven alleged Chinese state-backed hackers for a 14-year campaign targeting foreign critics, businesses and politicians.

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Oliver Dowden

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