US Government Emails Hacked in Suspected Chinese Espionage

    US Government Emails Hacked in Suspected Chinese Espionage
    Last updated Jul 13, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • Tech giant Microsoft has stated that Chinese government-linked hackers have accessed the email accounts of approximately 25 organizations, including US government agencies.
    • Microsoft has claimed that the group — dubbed "Storm-0558" — also gained access to Western European government email accounts. In a separate post, Microsoft's executive vice president of security Charlie Bell said the breach was purposed towards "espionage" and "intelligence collection."
    • It is believed that Storm-0558 forged authentication tokens necessary to access user email accounts, thereby gaining "unclassified Exchange Online Outlook Data from a smaller number of accounts," according to the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
    • Microsoft began investigating activity within weeks of the initial attack, believed to have occurred in May. The company stated the incident, which prompted a report of unusual behavior within a Microsoft 365 email cloud from a US federal government agency, has now been contained.
    • On Wednesday, Intelligence Select Committee chair, Sen. Mark Warner, said the panel was "closely monitoring" developments of what it considered a "significant cybersecurity breach." A spokesperson for the Dept. of State also confirmed it had detected "anomalous activity," and was taking "immediate steps" in response to the breach.
    • Following the reported hack, China's Foreign Ministry denied any involvement and described the allegations as "disinformation." Spokesperson Wang Wenbin also reaffirmed Beijing's stance that the US is "the world's largest hacker empire," claiming that, since 2022, China has "expos[ed] cyberattacks on China by the US government over a long period of time."


    Anti-China narrative

    It is no secret that China — alongside the likes of Iran and Russia — have been attempting to undermine US cybersecurity in recent times. With a vital election cycle in 2024 getting ever closer, it is paramount that the US prioritizes an increase in resources to deal with the impending threats that risk tarnishing America's democracy. The US must send a message that it will not tolerate such behavior from the likes of China, and it must address the rising challenge of Beijing's aggressive foreign policy goals.

    Pro-China narrative

    It is the US that holds hegemony over the use of malicious cyber attacks, often with the purpose of reaffirming their position and ideology within the world order. The US continues, physically and virtually, to topple and covertly influence governments for their own benefit. It is typical of Washington to accuse other nations of behavior that it is most guilty off.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 17% chance there will be a US-China war before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our newsletter!