China’s cyber-attacks on UK representatives

The UK government held the institutions affiliated with the Chinese government responsible for two cyber-attacks. According to the announcement in the UK, there have been two “malicious cyber campaigns targeting democratic institutions and parliamentarians “.

Accordingly, the UK sanctioned an entity and two Chinese citizens. This article examines the impact of China’s cyber-attacks on UK representatives on increasing tensions between the two countries.

China’s cyber-attacks on UK representatives

In the UK, the Electoral Commission is a kind of referee for democratic competition. This independent body issues the general rules for holding elections. Alarm bells rang in the UK last summer when the Electoral Commission emerged as the victim of a massive cyber-attack.

The commission said hostile actors gained access to voter registration copies and internal emails in 2021. Hackers penetrated the control systems. The attackers stole the names and addresses of all Britons who registered as voters between 2014 and 2022. China’s cyber-attacks have increased tensions in the relations between the two countries.

AZ China is the UK’s most significant strategic challenge

Ken McCallum, the head of MI5’s domestic intelligence service, described China as Britain’s biggest fundamental strategic challenge in 2022. China’s cyber-attacks on UK representatives led to increased disputes between the parties. The British Foreign Office also released a statement based on the assessments of the National Cyber ​​Security Centre. Based on this, the Election Commission was most likely attacked by a cyber entity between 2021 and 2022.

Sanctions of Chinese institutions by the UK government

British authorities cannot tolerate China’s cyber-attacks on UK representatives. In this regard, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said: “It is completely unacceptable that China state-affiliated organisations and individuals have targeted our democratic institutions and political processes.”

Summoning the Chinese ambassador in London

China’s cyber-attacks on UK representatives have led to a deterioration in diplomatic relations between the UK and China. The British Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador in London to protest these actions.

The British government imposed sanctions on several companies, including the Wuhan Xiaoruizhi Science and Technology Corporation (Wuhan XRZ), due to its affiliation with the APT31 group and China’s Ministry of Information. Additionally, two members of the APT31 group, Zhao Guangzong and Ni, have been placed on the sanctions list by the London government.

China’s success in penetrating British economic sectors

China’s cyber-attacks on UK representatives have been successful many times. The allegation of a Chinese cyber-attack by British authorities comes after a House of Commons researcher was arrested last year on charges of spying for China. According to the UK government’s announcement, Chris Cash has been arrested.

He worked for the China Research Group (CRG), which Security Secretary Tom Tugendhat set up. The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) also claimed in a report last summer that China has repeatedly and aggressively targeted Britain. The Chinese government has successfully infiltrated all sectors of the country’s economy.

The Chinese government denies allegations of cyber attacks

China strongly criticised the United States and the UK for imposing sanctions against Chinese institutions due to “cyber-attacks” and considered these accusations baseless. Chinese officials described the US-led move as political manipulation. The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said at a press conference in Beijing that China firmly opposes any cyber-attack.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the country is committed to strengthening cooperation with other countries. Strengthening cooperation through bilateral dialogue or judicial collaboration is based on mutual respect.

US government cyber-attacks against China

Experts also say that China’s cyber security institutions have published reports about the US government’s cyberattacks on China and other countries. However, the US government has consistently disregarded these reports. “China’s relevant cybersecurity institutions have released a series of reports on the US government’s cyberattacks on China and other countries.

Yet the US government has been silent about them. We urge the US to adopt a responsible approach in cyberspace and stop framing the innocent.” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Unilateral sanctions against China at the instigation of the United States

The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out that now, together with the UK, the United States is inciting China’s so-called cyber-attacks. America even launches baseless unilateral sanctions against China. China firmly opposes this.

The many ups and downs of Sino-British relations

British-Chinese relations have experienced many ups and downs in recent years. During his years as Prime Minister, Cameron tried to bring relations between the two countries to the highest level. Cameron held a joint press conference on 22 October 2015 with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He said in this joint press conference, “This trip marks the beginning of a new era.”

British Conservatives seek a more assertive approach to China.

London’s harsh rhetoric against Beijing is to moderate the country’s cyber activities. However, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry called the accusations baseless. That is why there is a risk of a diplomatic mess. However, the British sanctions are mild. Conservative Party critics, therefore, urged the government to follow up its harsh words with more decisive action.

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