New Zealand says a “state-sponsored” Chinese group hijacked parliament | Cybersecurity issues

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters says the alleged cyberattack is unacceptable

New Zealand has accused Chinese-backed hackers of breaking into parliament, joining the United States and the United Kingdom in accusing Beijing of cybercrime.

New Zealand’s foreign minister, Winston Peters, said on Tuesday the cyber attack was “unacceptable” and his country’s concerns were sent to Beijing.

“This type of foreign interference is unacceptable, and we have urged China to refrain from this in the future. New Zealand will continue to speak out – consistently and predictably – where we see behavior like this,” Peters said.

Peters, who last week met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said New Zealand and China shared an “important and difficult relationship”.

“We cooperate with China in some areas to our advantage,” he said. “At the same time, we’ve also been consistent and clear that we’re going to talk about concerns.”

New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) previously reported that the National Cyber ​​​​Security Center discovered that a government hacking group known as “APT40” compromised computers connected to the parliamentary network in 2021.

“The NCSC provided extensive support to victim organizations to mitigate the impact of the breach and provided guidance to other vulnerable organizations and partnerships,” GCSB Director Andrew Clark said in a statement.

“Analyzing the methods and tactics used by this actor allowed us to firmly link the actor to a group supported by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) known as APT40. This link has been reinforced by the analysis from international partners of similar activities in their areas.”

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in New Zealand said the allegations were “baseless and inappropriate.”

“We will not interfere, and we will not interfere in the affairs of other countries, including New Zealand.” Accusing China of meddling in foreign affairs is barking up the wrong tree,” the spokesman said.

New Zealand’s claims come after the US and UK announced sanctions on Monday against a Chinese company and two people accused of launching a spying operation targeting millions of people, including lawmakers, voters and prominent Beijing critics.

UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said cyberattacks in 2021 and 2022 targeted the Electoral Commission and the accounts of the UK parliament, including three MPs who are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance in China.

New Zealand’s Defense Minister, Judith Collins, who oversees the GCSB, said her country stood with its international counterparts in condemning the Chinese government’s cybercrime.

“This global response is a timely reminder to organizations and individuals alike to have robust cyber security measures in place,” Collins said.

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