Western governments, including New Zealand, point finger at China over 'malicious' state-sponsored cyber-attacks

The Government is pointing the finger solely at China over "malicious" state-sponsored cyber-attacks in New Zealand.

Evidence has been uncovered by the GCSB showing China exploited Microsoft Exchange earlier this year, minister Andrew Little says. 

Little, the minister in charge of the GCSB, says he condemns the "reckless" sharing of the server's vulnerabilities - adding it undermines global stability.

"New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious activity undertaken by the Chinese Ministry of State Security," he said in a statement on Monday night.

"This reinforces the importance of organisations and individuals having strong cybersecurity measures in place.

"We call for an end to this type of malicious activity, which undermines global stability and security, and we urge China to take appropriate action in relation to such activity emanating from its territory."

Other Western nations have also confirmed they were caught up in the attacks, with the UK accusing the Chinese Ministry of State Security of enabling espionage.

"The cyberattack on Microsoft Exchange Server by Chinese state-backed groups was a reckless but familiar pattern of behaviour," UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said. "The Chinese government must end this systematic cyber sabotage and can expect to be held to account if it does not."

Meanwhile, the EU said the hack resulted in security risks and significant economic loss. Chinese officials have previously said China is also a victim of hacking and opposes all forms of cyberattacks.

The US said the scope and scale of hacking attributed to China has surprised them, along with its use of "criminal contract hackers". United States security and intelligence agencies outlined more than 50 techniques and procedures that "China state-sponsored actors" use against US networks, a senior administration official told Reuters.

US concerns about Chinese cyber activities have been raised with senior Chinese officials and "we're not ruling out further action to hold the PRC accountable", the official said.

Reuters / Newshub.