Chinese Hackers Breached State Dept. and Other U.S. Agencies on Eve of Blinken’s Recent China Visit

US China Cyber War Blinken Biden

by Vijeta Uniyal at

Revelation comes as Biden prepares for a summit with Xi in coming months.

While President Joe Biden is eager to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping and bets big on diplomacy to deal with the Communist regime, China is stepping up snooping operations aimed at the U.S. government.

In the runup to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s China visit last month, Chinese state-backed hackers tried to breach email accounts belonging to the State Department and other government agencies, U.S. officials say.

ABC News reported Wednesday:

State-backed Chinese hackers foiled Microsoft’s cloud-based security in hacking the email accounts of officials at multiple U.S. agencies that deal with China ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing last month, officials said Wednesday.

The surgical, targeted espionage accessed the email of a small number of individuals at an unspecified number of U.S. agencies and was discovered in mid-June by the State Department, U.S. officials said. They said none of the breached systems were classified, nor was any of the stolen data.

The hacked officials included Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, The Washington Post reported, citing anonymous U.S. officials. Export controls imposed by her agency have stung multiple Chinese companies.

One person familiar with the investigation said U.S. military and intelligence agencies were not among the agencies impacted in the monthlong spying campaign, which also affected unnamed foreign governments. (…)

In a technical advisory Wednesday and a call with reporters, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI said Microsoft determined the hackers gained access by impersonating authorized users.

The revelation comes as President Biden prepares to meet his Chinese counterpart in the coming months. The president is keen to boost ties with Beijing before his term ends next year, news reports suggest. “President Biden hopes the diplomatic trips this summer by his aides lead to frank talks with Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials before the 2024 U.S. elections,” The New York Times reported Monday.

While Biden bets on diplomacy, China is waging a cyber and trade war against the U.S. as it dreams of becoming the leading global economic and military power. China’s Communist Party (CCP) has ordered a sweeping modernization of its armed forces by 2027.

Chinese cyber and economic warfare incurs massive losses on the U.S. economy. “Chinese hackers took trillions in intellectual property from about 30 multinational companies,” CBS News reported last year. The U.S. officials estimate that “the annual cost to the U.S. economy of counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets is between $225 billion and $600 billion,” the broadcaster added.

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