A Major US Company Hacked by China Agrees to Help China

Commentary A little over a year ago, a global wave of cyberattacks and data breaches rocked the world. After successfully breaching Microsoft Exchange Servers, attackers gained full access to hundreds of thousands of emails, passwords, and sensitive files. A quarter of a million servers fell victim to the attacks, including at least 30,000 organizations in the United States. According to numerous credible reports, the attackers were linked with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This begs the question: why is Microsoft continuing to help the CCP? According to an extensive investigation carried out by NPR, the abovementioned attack was part of a far bigger plan. The stealing of emails and intellectual property was only the beginning. The breach appears to have been “in the service of something bigger.” That “something bigger” involves the CCP’s “artificial intelligence ambitions.” Kiersten Todt, former executive director of the Obama administration’s bipartisan commission on cybersecurity, told NPR that there “is a long-term project underway.” Todt, who now runs the Cyber Readiness Institute, added, although what exactly China is building remains somewhat unknown, the “diversity of data, quality of data aggregation, accumulation of data” are all “critical to its success.” Will the assistance of huge technology companies, especially those based overseas, help the CCP achieve its goals? One imagines so. Doubling Down on China Microsoft recently suspended new sales of its products and services in Russia. That’s great. Hopefully more companies will do the same. However, when it comes to China, an equally (if not more) problematic country, Microsoft has opted to double down. In early March, according to a rather telling statement released, the American multinational technology corporation added a “fifth Azure region to the China market,” doubling “the capacity of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud portfolio in China.” Why? Well, as they say, always follow the money. Chinese leader Xi Jinping poses with CEOs and other company executives at the main campus of Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, Wash., on Sept. 23, 2015. (Ted S. Warren/Pool/Getty Images) According to Dr. Yang Hou, corporate vice president chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region (GCR), the American company recognizes the “fast-growing needs for global public cloud services in the China market, both from multinational companies coming to China, Chinese companies seeking for global presence, and Chinese companies to digitally transform their businesses and processes on clouds.” Yang stressed that Microsoft’s desire to expand and upgrade its cloud services in China is as strong as ever, adding that the company’s intelligent cloud is “the most comprehensive approach to security in the world.” Moreover, the American company is committed to helping China achieve greater levels of “technical innovation and business transformation.” Azure, for the initiated, is a public cloud computing platform. It provides a whole host of cloud services, including analytics and mass storage. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), China is now the world’s fastest-emerging public cloud market; by 2024, the country’s market’s global share will increase to more than 10.5 percent. The aforementioned Microsoft statement argued that the “fast development of China’s digital economy demands advanced technologies and services like Microsoft Azure, to support its emerging digital innovation and industrial digital transformation.” Why does any of this matter? After all, it’s just another business deal. There’s nothing particularly odd about an American company selling out to/assisting China. Right? Yes, there’s nothing particularly odd about Microsoft’s behavior. Nevertheless, this “sell out” is a little different. As Jonathan E. Hillman, a cybersecurity expert, told Politico, the cloud will play an integral role in the CCP’s quest to fully control the information supply chain. This includes controlling the data stored on handheld devices and data servers. It also includes controlling 5G and 6G networks. In short, the CCP wants to control all data, which means controlling everything. After all, in today’s world, everything is data, and data is everything. As Chinese leader Xi Jinping said back in 2014,”the flow of information guides the flow of technology, capital and talent,” adding that the “amount of information controlled has become an important indicator of a nation’s soft power and competitiveness.” The Politico piece outlined the importance of the cloud, stating that “it’s where everything comes together.” Not only does the cloud power email and mass storage, it also powers artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based quantum computing. The cloud is everywhere, “but also out of sight—and for many policymakers, out of mind,” as the Politico piece noted. The cloud is but an afterthought for many politicians, including those situated in the Unit

A Major US Company Hacked by China Agrees to Help China

Commentary

A little over a year ago, a global wave of cyberattacks and data breaches rocked the world.

After successfully breaching Microsoft Exchange Servers, attackers gained full access to hundreds of thousands of emails, passwords, and sensitive files. A quarter of a million servers fell victim to the attacks, including at least 30,000 organizations in the United States.

According to numerous credible reports, the attackers were linked with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This begs the question: why is Microsoft continuing to help the CCP?

According to an extensive investigation carried out by NPR, the abovementioned attack was part of a far bigger plan. The stealing of emails and intellectual property was only the beginning. The breach appears to have been “in the service of something bigger.” That “something bigger” involves the CCP’s “artificial intelligence ambitions.”

Kiersten Todt, former executive director of the Obama administration’s bipartisan commission on cybersecurity, told NPR that there “is a long-term project underway.” Todt, who now runs the Cyber Readiness Institute, added, although what exactly China is building remains somewhat unknown, the “diversity of data, quality of data aggregation, accumulation of data” are all “critical to its success.”

Will the assistance of huge technology companies, especially those based overseas, help the CCP achieve its goals? One imagines so.

Doubling Down on China

Microsoft recently suspended new sales of its products and services in Russia. That’s great. Hopefully more companies will do the same.

However, when it comes to China, an equally (if not more) problematic country, Microsoft has opted to double down.

In early March, according to a rather telling statement released, the American multinational technology corporation added a “fifth Azure region to the China market,” doubling “the capacity of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud portfolio in China.”

Why?

Well, as they say, always follow the money.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese leader Xi Jinping poses with CEOs and other company executives at the main campus of Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, Wash., on Sept. 23, 2015. (Ted S. Warren/Pool/Getty Images)

According to Dr. Yang Hou, corporate vice president chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region (GCR), the American company recognizes the “fast-growing needs for global public cloud services in the China market, both from multinational companies coming to China, Chinese companies seeking for global presence, and Chinese companies to digitally transform their businesses and processes on clouds.”

Yang stressed that Microsoft’s desire to expand and upgrade its cloud services in China is as strong as ever, adding that the company’s intelligent cloud is “the most comprehensive approach to security in the world.” Moreover, the American company is committed to helping China achieve greater levels of “technical innovation and business transformation.”

Azure, for the initiated, is a public cloud computing platform. It provides a whole host of cloud services, including analytics and mass storage. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), China is now the world’s fastest-emerging public cloud market; by 2024, the country’s market’s global share will increase to more than 10.5 percent.

The aforementioned Microsoft statement argued that the “fast development of China’s digital economy demands advanced technologies and services like Microsoft Azure, to support its emerging digital innovation and industrial digital transformation.” Why does any of this matter? After all, it’s just another business deal. There’s nothing particularly odd about an American company selling out to/assisting China. Right?

Yes, there’s nothing particularly odd about Microsoft’s behavior. Nevertheless, this “sell out” is a little different.

As Jonathan E. Hillman, a cybersecurity expert, told Politico, the cloud will play an integral role in the CCP’s quest to fully control the information supply chain. This includes controlling the data stored on handheld devices and data servers. It also includes controlling 5G and 6G networks. In short, the CCP wants to control all data, which means controlling everything. After all, in today’s world, everything is data, and data is everything.

As Chinese leader Xi Jinping said back in 2014,”the flow of information guides the flow of technology, capital and talent,” adding that the “amount of information controlled has become an important indicator of a nation’s soft power and competitiveness.”

The Politico piece outlined the importance of the cloud, stating that “it’s where everything comes together.” Not only does the cloud power email and mass storage, it also powers artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based quantum computing. The cloud is everywhere, “but also out of sight—and for many policymakers, out of mind,” as the Politico piece noted.

The cloud is but an afterthought for many politicians, including those situated in the United States. How many actually understand the importance of the cloud? Very few, I imagine. How many think it’s just something that exists in the sky?

As Hillman stressed, “China’s cloud ambitions are not limited to Asia.” Of course, they’re not. China’s ambitions are very much global in nature. The CCP is not content on dominating the Asian continent. It wants to dominate the world. To do so, it will require copious amounts of data.

Sadly, Microsoft, one of America’s most successful companies, is only too happy to help the CCP realize its global ambitions.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US, among others. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.