Friday, April 12, 2024

US and UK Take Joint Action Against Chinese Cyber Threats

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The US and the UK have taken a strong and coordinated stance to counter cyber threats originating from China. The two nations have announced sanctions and indictments targeting individuals and entities involved in malicious cyber activities. A particular focus of these sacntions are those entities that target critical infrastructure sectors and democratic institutions. Let’s talk about this collaboration and what lessons Bharat can take from it!

Chinese State-Sponsored Cyber Threats

The US Department of the Treasury sanctioned Wuhan XRZ. Why? They finally identified it as a front company for the Chinese Ministry of State Security. Wuhan XRZ was implicated in multiple malicious cyber operations that pose a direct threat to US national security.

Additionally, two Chinese nationals, Zhao Guangzong and Ni Gaobin, affiliated with Wuhan XRZ, were also sanctioned for their roles in these cyber operations.

U.S. and UK Impose Sanctions on APT 31 Chinese Hackers
PC Cyber Security News

These two were complicit in actions that targeted US entities operating within critical infrastructure sectors. The US Justice Department also indicted seven other Chinese citizens associated with APT31. What is APT31? It is a China-based hacking group that focuses on cyber espionage. Their activities spanned over 14 years. Moreover, APT31 has targeted sensitive information on US and foreign critics, businesses, and political officials. Therefore, they pose as a significant threat to US national security and economic interests.

The US-UK Alliance: A Collective Cyber Defense

The collaborative efforts between the US and the UK reflect their shared commitment to combating Chinese cyber threats. The UK government, with the support of its allies globally, has identified numerous Chinese state-affiliated organizations engaging in malicious online campaigns against democratic institutions and parliamentarians.

The UK’s Government Communications Headquarters assessed that the UK Electoral Commission system was compromised by a Chinese state-affiliated entity between 2021 and 2022.

Fortunately, these attacks did not impact the democratic process or elections. However, they underscore the persistent threat posed by state-sponsored cyber villains.

Consequently, the UK government has imposed sanctions, travel bans, and asset freezes on all individuals and entities involved in Chinese cyber espionage. Zhao Guangzong and Ni Gaobin, members of the APT31 cyber gang, are particularly noted for their cyber activities.

Points to Ponder

Chinese govt-backed organisations were behind cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and organisations': US and UK announce sanctions
PC OpIndia

This collaboration between the US and the UK against China’s cyber attacks highlights the growing sophistication of Chinese state-sponsored illegal activities. The sanctions and indictments signal a broader shift in global cybersecurity dynamics. Traditionally, cybersecurity efforts have been primarily focused on individual nation-states defending against cyber attacks within their borders. However, the US-UK collaboration shows that online threats are becoming increasingly transnational and pervasive. To counter this menace, friendly nations must collaborate with each other.

Bharat faces similar Chinese state-sponsored cyber activities. Thus, it should draw lessons from the collaborative efforts between the US and the UK.

By forging alliances and sharing intelligence with friendly nations, Bharat can enhance its cybersecurity capabilities and effectively counter external threats, particularly from China which loves to poke its nose in Bharat’s internal matters.

Therefore, embracing a proactive approach to cybersecurity and adopting measures to strengthen cooperation with allies is a crucial lesson that Bharat must learn from this US-UK collaboration. 

The Chinese dragon is vicious and vile. It tends to bite and leave a mark while digging your grave underneath. As a hostile neighbor that shares borders with India, China repeatedly pokes its nose into India’s internal affairs and blocks India’s efforts to counter terrorism. Therefore, the US-UK collaboration has a key takeaway for India. India must fight the Chinese by collaborating with its friends. Sharing intelligence and shouldering sanctions may help India counter Chinese influence in the Indian subcontinent.

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