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Biden Accuses Chinese State Actors of Ransomware, Cryptojacking Attacks

"Hackers with a history of working for the PRC Ministry of State Security (MSS) have engaged in ransomware attacks, cyber enabled extortion, crypto-jacking, and rank theft from victims around the world, all for financial gain," a White House press release said.

Jul 19, 2021 at 1:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:27 p.m. UTC

The U.S. president is accusing the Chinese government of supporting cyberattacks, including ransomware, cryptojacking, digital extortion and theft.

The allegations were announced Monday as part of a broader statement claiming China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) also had a hand in a massive Microsoft Exchange email hack earlier this year that compromised some 30,000 organizations using the service.

The federal government is also charging four individuals it claims work for the MSS with espionage and computer damage crimes.

"Hackers with a history of working for the PRC Ministry of State Security (MSS) have engaged in ransomware attacks, cyber enabled extortion, crypto-jacking, and rank theft from victims around the world, all for financial gain," a White House press release said.

Cyberattacks have been on the rise, with ransomware attacks in particular making headlines this year after impacting critical infrastructure. The U.S. government has already announced a new initiative to tackle these sorts of digital crimes, including finding ways of preventing or tracking crypto payments during these attacks.

It also reportedly plans to launch a ransomware task force.

The U.S. government highlighted these efforts in a press call on Sunday.

"We have our four-part counter-ransomware strategy – which you all know – from resilience, to focusing on cryptocurrencies, to working with countries around the world to build a coalition to hold Russia and other countries accountable, to really focusing on disrupting actor’s infrastructure, and funding payments," said an administration official speaking on background.

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