Japan says Chinese government likely linked to cyber hacking of Japanese companies

The Japanese government says Japanese companies have been attacked by a cyber-hacking group known as APT40, and that the Chinese government is likely to be linked to the hacker group.

“We are watching the situation closely and are concerned about it,” Japanese Cabinet official Katsushin Kato added at a regular press conference Tuesday (July 20, 2021).

The U.S. government on Monday publicly accused China’s Ministry of National Security of using criminal hacking contractors to conduct unsanctioned cyber operations around the world. Washington also joined several allies and allied agencies in accusing Beijing-backed hackers of carrying out an attack on Microsoft Corp.’s e-mail system (Microsoft Exchange) servers last March that affected tens of thousands of organizations and businesses.

The U.S. has long accused China of “irresponsible and destabilizing behavior” in cyberspace, but Beijing has never admitted to any cyberattacks against any country or person, claiming that China itself was a victim of cyberattacks.

After the U.S. and several Western countries and institutions publicly accused Beijing of leading malicious cyber hacking, Chinese embassies in the countries and institutions concerned issued statements calling those countries disinformation.