The Biden administration blamed China for the hack of Microsoft Exchange servers that compromised tens of thousands of computers in March of this year, in statements to reporters on Monday.
The administration has so far declined to impose sanctions on China over the hack. In addition to the Microsoft Exchange hack, the administration also accused China of working with “criminal” hackers to target companies for ransom.
“We have raised our concerns about both this incident and the [People’s Republic of China’s] broader malicious cyber activity with senior PRC Government officials, making clear that the PRC’s actions threaten security, confidence, and stability in cyberspace,” a White House fact sheet stated.
A number of European allies joined the White House in condemning the hacking operations. While sanctions on China were not immediately forthcoming, the Biden administration believes the joint statements with allies will send an important message to the country, a U.S. official told the Associated Press.
The announcement by the White House comes after a number of ransomware attacks in recent months tied to Russian hackers. In May, a group called Darkside hacked Colonial Pipeline, which transports roughly 45 percent of fuel consumed on the U.S. east coast. The pipeline shut down for several days and the company paid roughly $4.4 million in ransom to Darkside, although at least $2.3 million was recovered by the Justice Department.