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China accuses US of massive cyberattack

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China has accused the US National Security Agency of launching 'tens of thousands' of cyberattacks./AFP
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Sep 06, 2022 - 03:00 AM

ISTANBUL (AA) – China on Monday accused the US of launching a massive cyberattack primarily targeting a Chinese university.

“China has lodged strong opposition to the US over its intelligence agency, the National Security Agency (NSA), for launching a cyberattack on the email system belonging to a leading Chinese university,” said Mao Ning, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Beijing has demanded an explanation from Washington, said Mao, who appeared first time to address the daily briefing by the ministry.

In a joint report by National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center (CVERC) and the cybersecurity firm 360 Company, Beijing said the email system of Northwestern Polytechnical University was hacked by the US’ National Security Agency (NSA).

Identifying Robert Edward Joyce as the NSA official in charge of the cyber activities, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO), it said he was “in direct command” of the situation concerning the university.

Northwestern Polytechnical University is known for its faculty’s research in aviation, aerospace and navigation.

The alleged cyberattack was reported by the university on June 22, when it said it had uncovered hackers “from abroad caught sending phishing emails with Trojan horse programs to teachers and students at the university, attempting to steal their data and personal information,” said the report.

“This investigation found that in recent years … TAO has carried out tens of thousands of malicious network attacks on network targets in China, and controlled tens of thousands of network devices (network servers, Internet terminals, network switches, telephone switches, routers, firewalls, etc.), stealing over 140GB of high-value data,” it claimed.

“As the most powerful country in cyber technology and capability, the US must immediately stop abusing its tech strength for cyber theft and attacks,” said Mao.

‘Lift blockade on Cuba, end arms support to Taiwan’

Beijing also decried the US’ continued sanctions on Cuba, urging Washington to end its blockade on the Caribbean island nation.

“China calls on the US to fully lift its barbaric and inhumane economic, financial and trade blockade imposed on Cuba as it seriously violates international law and human rights,” said Mao.

She also noted that the UN General Assembly had adopted resolutions 29 times to call for an end to the US embargo on Cuba.

On recent US arms sales of over $1.1 billion to Taiwan, which China claims as a “breakaway province,” she reiterated Beijing’s opposition to the move.

“China firmly opposes and strongly condemns US arms sales to Taiwan,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

She added that China would “take measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty and security interests.”

The new defense deal between Washington and Taipei will include 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 100 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and support for a surveillance radar system.

If approved by the US House of Representatives, it will be fifth and largest arms sale to the self-ruled island since Biden became president.

Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949 and maintains full diplomatic relations with 14 nations.

“No one can halt the historic process of China’s complete reunification,” Mao said, reiterating Beijing’s stance that Taiwan should join the mainland.

On global energy supplies impacted by Russia’s war on Ukraine, she said oil is “critical for global energy supply, and we hope relevant countries can make constructive efforts to ease tension via dialogue and consultation.”

She was responding to a decision by G7 finance ministers to impose a price cap on Russian oil.

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