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US and British officials have directly accused the Chinese government of orchestrating a cyberespionage campaign that has reportedly affected millions, including a broad spectrum of individuals from lawmakers, defense contractors, and journalists.

An indictment unsealed on Monday revealed the charges against seven Chinese individuals purportedly connected to these activities. The indictment revealed the significant impact of the hacking, which involved the potential and confirmed breach of millions of work accounts, personal emails, online storage, and telephone records. In addition, the treasury department also rolled out sanctions on “Wuhan Xiaoruizhi Science and Technology,” a company involved in the campaign.

Chinese Cybercrime Klaus Ohlenschlaeger Alamy

The accused hacking group tasked with carrying out the campaign, known as “APT31,” is believed to be an extension of China’s Ministry of State Security. The list of targets is extensive, encompassing White House staff, US senators, British parliamentarians, and international government officials who have expressed criticism of China. In addition, defense contractors, dissidents, journalists, and security companies have also been compromised, according to the allegations.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the campaign’s objectives were to “repress critics of the Chinese regime, compromise government institutions, and steal trade secrets.”

In response to these allegations, China’s Embassy in London denounced the UK’s accusations as “completely fabricated and malicious slanders.”


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