While the culprits behind the WannaCry ransomware attack that ravaged computers around the world have not yet been caught, China appears to believe that the U.S. should shoulder some of the blame.
China, due to its affinity for illegal software, was hit hard by the attack, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries. The WannaCry ransomware would lock files and demand payments in exchange for their release. The only clues available right now point to North Korea, but researchers are cautious about laying blame.
China, however, is ready to dish it out.
Beijing is reportedly hesitant to blame its ally. “Regarding the ransomware attack, China analysts say Beijing will hesitate before directly casting blame on North Korea even if evidence directly ties the North to the attack,” writes the New York Times. “Beijing is more likely to single out other actors, particularly the United States.”
“Many criticized the U.S. government, saying that it was responsible for this spread of ransomware. Obviously, this accusation is reasonable,” the Global Times, a Chinese tabloid, wrote Monday.
“The US National Security Agency must shoulder some of the blame, because the computer virus is based on one of the hacking tools that the agency created for its own use, which ended up in the hands of cyber criminals,” writes the China Daily, “That an agency tasked with protecting citizens from cyberattacks was itself so vulnerable to hackers shows how serious the problem is.”
The WannaCry ransomware reportedly uses NSA tools stolen by the hacking group The Shadow Brokers, a group believed to have ties to Russia. The editorial complains that U.S. actions are hindering efforts to tackle global cyber crimes.
“For many years cyber security has been one of the major frictions in bilateral relations between China and the US, with Washington often pointing an accusing finger at Beijing, claiming it is engaged in state-sponsored cyber espionage, although it has offered no credible evidence to support its accusation,” the China Daily argues.
The U.S. has accused China of conducting corporate espionage using People’s Liberation Army cyber divisions, stealing tens of terabytes of information on U.S. military programs — such as the strike fighters and drones, and breaching the Office of Personnel Management to snatch data on millions of former and current government employees.
China denies that it engaged in state-sponsored cyber crime.
“This is hypocritical of the US, to say the least, because no other country has mounted such wide-ranging, costly and long-term surveillance operations in the history of the internet,” Chinese state media writes, adding that the U.S. should work together with China to combat criminal activity in cyberspace.
“Cooperation, rather than confrontation, is the only way out to make the virtual world a safer place for all,” the China Daily explained, noting that the latest attack highlights the need for China’s efforts to control the internet.
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