Microsoft accuses China of cyber attacks targeting smaller nations

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Microsoft accuses China of cyber attacks targeting smaller nations
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Microsoft accuses China of cyber attacks targeting smaller nations

Chinese state-affiliated actors are targeting smaller nations around the world and using cyber espionage for its global economic and military influence, Microsoft’s latest report said.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 7, 2022 18:59 IST

Chinese state-affiliated actors are targeting smaller nations, said a report (Representative Image)

Chinese state-affiliated actors are targeting smaller nations, said a report (Representative Image)

By Bidisha Saha: Tech giant Microsoft, in its latest Digital Defence Report of 2022, has accused state-affiliated actors from China of cyber attacks targeting smaller nations.

Chinese state-affiliated actors are targeting smaller nations around the world and using cyber espionage for its global economic and military influence, Microsoft’s latest report said.

“The cyber attacks spanned across Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Oceania, and the global south, including Namibia, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others. Many of such attacks stem from China’s ability to find “zero-day vulnerabilities” – unpatched holes in software previously unknown to vendors,” the report stated.

ZERO-DAY VULNERABILITY EXPLOITATION

With the growing cybersecurity measures across organisations, infiltrators discover new and unique methods to deliver attacks. The identification and exploitation of unknown vulnerabilities or security flaws, glitches, or weaknesses found in software code is “zero-day vulnerability”. Once these newly acknowledged vulnerabilities are publicly exposed, they are commoditised and rapidly reused by other nation-states and criminal adversaries in a threat actor ecosystem.

In the report published last week, Microsoft claimed an increased use of zero-day exploits by Chinese adversaries over the last year.

CHINA EXPANDING GLOBAL TARGETING IN 2022

Microsoft further stated in its 114-page report that China will continue to juggle its position in a complex geopolitical climate and utilise cyber exploitation tactics to help its strategic, political, military, and economic goals. Through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the country attempts to revive its investment framework with the EU. However, it is against the United States and its allies over Taiwan and the South China Sea effectively straining its foreign relations with many countries.

The trend observed by the tech giant also suggests that China’s global influence will continue to grow as it establishes bilateral economic relations with more countries, often in agreement with the BRI initiative.

The report further stated that the Chinese nexus actors continue to pursue targets in government, diplomatic, and NGO sectors to gain more insights likely on “economic espionage or traditional intelligence collection objectives.” Even after Microsoft’s disruption, the threat actors (NICKEL) targeted several government agencies across Latin America and Europe, trying to regain lost access. The continued persistence to exploit the same government agencies indicates the significance of the task at a higher level.

Also Read: Indian students in China ineligible for medical exam if license not obtained: Govt issues advisory

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