In May, hackers from China broke into various parts of the US government and took about 60,000 emails from important State Department officials. This information comes from a meeting with senators and their assistants. It shows that the hackers from China went through the emails of top American diplomats who were dealing with Pacific affairs. This happened just before the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had an important visit to China in June.
These hackers targeted the email accounts of nine State Department officials dealing with East Asia and the Pacific, as well as one official handling European matters. This information came from a Senate staffer, who remained anonymous, attending a briefing by senior State Department IT officials. The hackers also got a list of all State Department email addresses, which could be valuable for potential future cyberattacks on the State Department.
During a press briefing, the State Department confirmed that hackers gained access to approximately 60,000 of its emails. The breach was related to Microsoft systems, and although the State Department hasn’t officially attributed it, Microsoft pointed to a “China-based” hacking group. The hacking campaign exploited Microsoft email software, raising concerns about the US government’s reliance on Microsoft technology.
Notable individuals, including US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, had their unclassified email accounts breached. Some U.S. lawmakers, like Republican Rep. Don Bacon, who was also targeted, have called for strengthened cybersecurity defenses and a reevaluation of the government’s dependence on a single vendor. In response, Chinese officials accused the US government of conducting cyberattacks against China.
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