Microsoft says Chinese hackers are a threat to critical US infrastructure

Microsoft and other intelligence agencies have recently stated that a state-sponsored Chinese hacking group has been spying on a plethora of US infrastructure organizations, such as transportation hubs and telecommunications systems, per Reuters. The spies have also been active in the US territory of Guam, which is home to US military bases.

Microsoft noted that it is going to be a challenge in “mitigating this attack.” The report noted that the recent attack is among the largest known Chinese cyber espionage campaigns against US infrastructure. 

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning has suggested that the claims are nothing more than a “collective disinformation campaign” carried out by the Five Eyes, which is a reference to Canada, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and the US, per the report. Mao said that the accusations were launched by the US for political reasons, and that the recent report from Microsoft only showed that the US is expanding its method of disinformation beyond government agencies.

Mao said: “But no matter what varied methods are used, none of this can change the fact that the United States is the empire of hacking.”

However, Microsoft has mentioned that its analysts had “moderate confidence” that the Chinese hacker group, dubbed “Volt Typhoon,” was currently in the process of developing technology that could frustrate critical communications systems between the US and Asia.

John Hultquist, who heads up the threat analysis at Google’s Mandiant Intelligence, said: "It means they are preparing for that possibility.” There is also heightened worry about this group because it is still not clear what these spies are capable of, according to the report. 

Hultquist said: "There is greater interest in this actor because of the geopolitical situation.”

Microsoft reported that Volt Typhoon has apparently been active since 2021, and has been consistent in its targeted attacks on areas in Guam and other places throughout the US. 

The company said that this espionage campaign has “affected organizations” that span the “communications, manufacturing, utility, transportation, construction, maritime, government, information technology, and education sectors.”

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