In yet another security breach by Beijing, China-based hackers breached the email accounts of the US Ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns as part of a recent targeted intelligence-gathering campaign, CNN reported on Thursday citing US officials.
According to the officials, the hackers also accessed the email account of Daniel Kritenbrink, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, who also travelled with Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China recently.
Earlier, Chinese hackers also breached the email of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and State Department officials in the weeks before State Secretary Antony Blinken visited Beijing in June, New York Times reported citing US officials.
Earlier, Microsoft revealed that the Chinese hackers with the intention to collect intelligence on the US have gained access to government email accounts.
The attack was targeted, according to a person briefed on the intrusion into the government networks, with the hackers going after specific accounts rather than carrying out a broad-brush intrusion that would suck up enormous amounts of data, as per the New York Times.
It is pertinent to mention that the State Department discovered the intrusion on June 16 and informed Microsoft that day, just ahead of Blinken’s trip to Beijing, a US official said. He departed from Washington that evening.
After Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen also visited Beijing. President Joe Biden and Chinese Presient Xi Jinping, agreed in a meeting in Bali, Indonesia, last November to try to stabilize relations, but tensions between the two nations ramped up when the Pentagon discovered and shot down a Chinese spy balloon that was floating over the continental United States in early February.
© Thomson Reuters 2023