Britain blames China’s secret service for campaign of ‘significant’ cyber attacks that tried to steal business secrets by hacking into global firms based in Europe, Asia and the US
- Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed China for ‘sustained’ cyber attack
- A group called APT10 linked to the Beijing regime targeted global companies
- The attack tried to steal secrets from firms based in Europe, Asia and the US
- Foreign Office warns the hacking attacks are ‘almost certainly’ continuing
Britain today sensationally blamed China for a campaign of global cyber attacks aimed at stealing business secrets from the UK and allied countries.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed Beijing for the ‘one of the most significant’ cyber attacks ever made against the UK and its allies.
The ‘sustained’ campaign has tried to steal secrets from global companies based in Europe, Asia and the United States.
British spies have assessed ‘with the highest level of probability’ that China is to blame for the hacking of corporate giants – warning the attempts to breach security are ‘almost certainly’ continuing.
Mr Hunt demanded the Chinese offensive action ‘stop’, warning they breach international agreements made at the G20.
A group called APT10 that is linked to the China’s Ministry of State Security is responsible for the attacks, Mr Hunt said.
The startling claims come despite a desperate attempt by British ministers to establish a ‘diamond era’ in UK-China relations.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (left with the PM today) blamed Beijing for the ‘one of the most significant’ cyber attacks ever made against the UK
Mr Hunt said: ‘This campaign is one of the most significant and widespread cyber intrusions against the UK and allies uncovered to date, targeting trade secrets and economies around the world.
‘These activities must stop. They go against the commitments made to the UK in 2015, and, as part of the G20, not to conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property or trade secrets.
‘Our message to governments prepared to enable these activities is clear: together with our allies, we will expose your actions and take other necessary steps to ensure the rule of law is upheld.’
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Why we are acting now – despite our requests and having plenty of time to conduct an investigation, the Chines government has consistently failed to engage meaningfully on the concerns which have been raised.
‘We hope to see a change in behaviour from the Chinese government. We want China to ensure that all parts of the Chinese state are committed to the agreements China has mad to us on not engaging in cyber enabled intellectual property theft.’
Asked if the so-called diamond era of UK China relations still exists, he added: ‘We enjoy a strong and constructive relationship with China and that is one that allows us to robustly address areas where we have difficulties and this would be one example.’
In America, US prosecutors unsealed an indictment today that charges two Chinese nationals with computer hacking attacks.
They targeted a broad range of US government agencies and corporations, including the Navy and the space agency NASA, according to a court filing.
The two, identified as Zhu Hua and Zhang Jianguo, worked in China to hack into computers to steal intellectual property and confidential business and technological data, according to an indictment.
The American authorities said the two worked in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
Hacking targets included companies involved aviation, space and satellite technology, the indictment said.
Court papers filed in Manhattan federal court allege the hackers were able to breach the computers of more than 45 entities in 12 states.
Britain has courted China in recent years, bringing President Xi Jinping (pictured with Theresa May in February) to London for a state visit and scrambling to secure Chinese investment in major projects including nuclear power
The Foreign Office said Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre had established with the ‘highest level of probability’ that APT10 was behind the ‘sustained cyber campaign’.
It targeted a range of global companies and sought to steal intellectual property and commercial secrets from Europe, Asia and the US.
The attacks are still underway and fall foul of agreements made at the G20 that no country should support cyber attacks to steal trade secrets.
It also breaks a bilateral agreement between Britain and China.
Britain has courted China in recent years, bringing President Xi Jinping to London for a state visit and scrambling to secure Chinese investment in major projects including nuclear power.