The communist Chinese regime is responsible for a massive cyberattack that compromised thousands of computers around the world earlier this year, according to the Canadian government and its international allies.

In March, it was revealed that hackers exploited Microsoft Exchange emails. The federal government estimates 400,000 servers were compromised.

The Canadian government believes the objective of the attack was to steal intellectual property and personal information.

“Canada is confident that (China’s) Ministry of State Security is responsible for the widespread compromising of the exchange servers,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in a statement.

“This activity put several thousand Canadian entities at risk — a risk that persists in some cases even when patches from Microsoft have been applied.”

Canada was joined by the US, Britain, the European Union and NATO in accusing China of being behind the attacks.

A senior US official described the attack as part of a “pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace.” Meanwhile, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre believes the Chinese hackers were targeting maritime industries and naval defence contractors in the US, Europe and the Finnish parliament.

China’s belligerent cyberattack comes in light of a new report by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), which warns that Canadians are likely to encounter efforts by foreign actors, including China, to influence or interfere with their vote in the next federal election.

According to the CSE report, Canada is a potential target because of its active role on the world stage and that foreign actors have the tools, capacity and understanding of Canada’s political landscape to take action in the future “should they have the strategic intent.”

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