New Zealand accuses China for hacking the Parliament

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After the United Kingdom’s purported accusation against China of launching a cyber attack on its Electoral Commission in 2021, allegedly aimed at stealing data pertaining to over 40 million voters, New Zealand (NZ) government has directly pointed fingers at China for hacking into the computer network of its Parliament Counsel Office.

The NZ government issued a stern warning, denouncing such state-sponsored attacks as alarming and unacceptable. It asserted that the country’s intelligence services possess evidence supporting its claims.

Cyber espionage has emerged as a key tool for nations such as North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China to instigate political and economic turmoil in rival countries. The interference in the 2016 US elections drew significant attention, with former President Donald Trump facing allegations of winning the election with Russian interference, purportedly due to Putin’s desire for a friendly leader in the powerful Western nation.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, has strongly criticized these actions, issuing a strict warning to the Chinese military for allegedly spying on government officials for a duration of 18 months, posing a significant threat to national security. The government attributed the attacks to APT30 and APT 31 threat groups, claiming they operated as state-sponsored entities working for Chinese intelligence.

Conversely, the Chinese embassy in New Zealand has refuted the allegations, labeling them as baseless and irresponsible, expressing discontent with the government’s assertions.

Previously, nations like Australia, Germany, and India have voiced similar concerns regarding Beijing’s actions, condemning the ongoing espionage activities that appear relentless despite sanctions and warnings.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of NZ released a statement attributing the cyber attack on the New Zealand parliament in 2021 to the Advanced Persistent Threat 40 group. It further claimed that all these groups operate under the auspices of the People’s Republic of China, which reportedly employs over 5,000 hackers tasked with intercepting phones, emails, and networks of both developing and developed nations. Their duties include gathering intelligence and leveraging AI technology to analyze and respond to perceived threats based on inputs from senior officials.

The question arises as to who possesses the authority or capability to block or curtail such online activities conducted by Asian nations.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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