Will Chinese hacking derail U.S. hope for a thaw between Beijing and Washington?

The U.S. is warning American firms about a new type of malware that a state-sponsored Chinese hacking group it trying to insert into critical infrastructure.

The State Department warns American companies to be alert to a new malware type that it claims a Chinese hacking group, sponsored by the Chinese government, has been trying insert into computer systems of critical infrastructure in the U.S. including Guam.

Microsoft warned private software users on Wednesday that the suspicious code existed. Guam is home to a U.S. Marine Base that would be ready to respond if China attacked Taiwan.

The National Security Agency has also sent out an alert to key sectors such as electrical utilities, nuclear power plants, water systems and railways.

Matt Miller, State Department spokesperson, told reporters Thursday that the US intelligence community believes that China is almost certain to be capable of launching a cyberattack that could disrupt critical infrastructure services in the United States. It’s important that government network protectors and the general public remain vigilant.

25 May 2023 02 :51

U.S. officials said that the two officials had “candid and substantive discussions” on Thursday, during which Gina Raimondo met with Wang Wentao, China’s minister of commerce. Officials said the two officials held “candid, substantive discussions” in Washington on Thursday. Raimondo also “raised her concerns” regarding recent government actions taken against U.S.-based companies operating there.

Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, was also scheduled to meet Wang. Both will also be attending an APEC Meeting in Detroit, along with other ministers of Asian and Pacific countries.

Miller, State Department spokesperson, responded to the question of whether or not the cyberattack would affect economic talks with China by saying, “We intend to use our discussions with the Chinese Government to push on areas where we are concerned.”

Joe Biden, the President of the United States, expressed his optimism before leaving the G-7 Summit on Sunday in Japan. He said that he was confident the U.S. would be able soon to improve its relations with China. Tensions increased after the U.S. shot a Chinese spy balloon in early February after it had crossed the U.S. coast from Montana to the Atlantic.

China maintains that it was a weather-balloon that blew off course. They repeated this claim in recent meetings with China’s foreign minister Qin Gang in Vienna, Austria, two weeks ago. China had previously halted military-to-military communication with the Pentagon in protest of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.

According to NBC News, a senior Biden administration official said that the two meetings in Washington with Chinese officials could bolster President Biden’s push for a diplomatic thaw. The official said that Secretary of State Blinken’s trip to China, which was cancelled following the shooting down of the balloon, could be rescheduled for August. He also suggested that Treasury Secretary Yellen and Commerce Secretary Raimondo as well as Climate Envoy John Kerry visit China.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded harshly Thursday to the hacking accusations, accusing the U.S. and its allies of launching a coordinated campaign of disinformation.

Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), said: “We took note of this report which was extremely unprofessional. It is a patchwork and has a broken evidence chain.” “We also noted the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) and cybersecurity agencies from the UK, Australia and Canada, as well as New Zealand, issued almost identical reports.”

The newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. XieFeng arrived in the U.S. Tuesday, and stated that “the relationship faces serious difficulties and challenges.”

Ambassador Feng and Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met at the State Department on Thursday. Nuland posted a photo of her shaking hands with the Chinese ambassador and tried to strike a positive note regarding easing tensions. She wrote, “Open dialog is critical for managing our relationship.”

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