backed by China Hacking campaigns targeting critical infrastructure Infections on Guam and elsewhere in the United States are “genuinely concerning,” Microsoft president Brad Smith warned.
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the hacking operation, codenamed “Bolt Typhoon,” and said it could disrupt communications between the United States and Asia during a possible future conflict. This operation has been active for about two years.
“What we discovered was what we think of as a network intrusion, code prepositioning, which we have seen before in terms of activity,” said Smith. said in an interview with Face the Nation. “This shows a particular focus on critical infrastructure, which is clearly a serious concern.”
Microsoft said Wednesday it had not detected any aggressive attacks from the operation, but noted that hackers in China’s intelligence services and military generally focus more on espionage and intelligence gathering than on destruction.
Smith declined to elaborate on how the operation came to light or whether it was Microsoft that alerted the U.S. spy agency to the operation.
“I don’t want to get too deep into it,” he said. “We’ve certainly found a fair amount of information on our own. I think we’re not the only ones looking. As you can imagine, we share information. Only we doesn’t know,” nor did the person who found it.
“The good news is that we have fairly extensive capabilities to detect this kind of activity, not only as a company, but as an industry and a country,” he added.
of The New York Times reported US intelligence agencies discovered the malware in February, roughly the same month the US shot down a Chinese spy balloon. With malware reportedly appearing in telecommunications systems on Guam and elsewhere in the United States, and with Guam playing a key role in the U.S. military’s response to a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, U.S. officials have increased vigilance.
Smith said publicizing the operation is also important for educating affected departments and holding perpetrators to account.
“Frankly, I think we live in a world that requires some degree of accountability for those involved in these types of threat- and danger-shaping activities,” Smith said. “Therefore, we need public transparency in that regard as well.”
China denies the allegations.
Nicole Sganga contributed to the report.