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The US has said that there are weaknesses in Microsoft’s Exchange servers, and have found “significant” hacking attempts. Washington has announced that these hacks “could have far-reaching impacts”. In recent days an “unusually aggressive” Chinese cyber-espionage campaign has been launched against Microsoft users in the US.
A US computer security specialist said Chinese hackers have been exploiting flaws in Microsoft Exchange software.
This has allowed them to steal emails and infect computer servers with code that lets them take control of a computer remotely.
Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs said: “This is an active threat.”
Regarding the threat, White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said: “Everyone running these servers needs to act now to patch them.
“We are concerned that there are a large number of victims.”
On Tuesday Microsoft released patches to block the hacks.
However, attacks have “dramatically stepped up” on servers that have yet to be updated.
Mr Krebs said that security fixes need to be made to all US servers using the Microsoft Exchange software.
Mr Kerbs said: “At least 30,000 organisations across the United States, including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities, and local governments have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber-espionage unit.
The unit is focused on stealing email from victim organisations.”
On Tuesday Microsoft executive Tom Burt in his blog urged customers to apply the new downloadable patches that will prevent their systems from being hacked.
He said: “We know that many nation-state actors and criminal groups will move quickly to take advantage of any unpatched systems.”
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Microsoft has said the hackers were based in China.
However, the attacks were operated through virtual private servers based in the US.
China has previously defended itself after US claims of state-sponsored cyber espionage.
Washington has formerly claimed Chinese hackers have attempted to steal US coronavirus research.
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