The Inadequate Government Response to Cyberattacks Linked to China

The alarming trend of cyberattacks targeting computers belonging to French parliamentarians has raised serious concerns among government officials. A group of seven deputies and senators have come forward to speak out against what they see as an inadequate government response to these cyber threats. The attacks, attributed to a hacker group known as APT31, are believed to be linked to the Chinese government by several countries, including the US and Britain.

The targeted parliamentarians are all members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a non-profit organization that focuses on addressing China’s policies seen as threatening democratic values. It was only in March of this year that the French parliamentarians discovered they had fallen victim to the cyberattacks, after the US Justice Department indicted seven Chinese nationals associated with the Chinese government for sending malicious emails to US and foreign critics of China, including IPAC members.

Despite the mounting evidence pointing towards China’s involvement in these cyberattacks, the response from French authorities has been lackluster. Former senator Andre Gattolin, who received one of the malicious emails, emphasized the lack of attention given by the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) and the anti-espionage agency DGSI when he sought further investigation. The handling of the case was deemed “lightweight” by deputy Anne Genetet, who expressed disbelief that she was the only member of the National Assembly targeted in such a manner.

The failure of French authorities to address the cyberattacks effectively has left many parliamentarians frustrated. Ex-senator Andre Gattolin expressed concern over the silence surrounding China’s actions, stating that allowing Chinese spies to infiltrate their offices unchecked is unacceptable. Despite assurances from government spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot that French services are monitoring APT31 closely, parliamentarians like Olivier Cadic believe that more needs to be done in response to these blatant attacks. Cadic emphasized the seriousness of the situation, referring to it as an “open official attack” that requires a robust and immediate reaction from the authorities.

The cybersecurity threat posed by China through groups like APT31 is a serious concern that demands a proactive and vigilant response from governments around the world. The inadequacy of the French government’s response to these cyberattacks highlights the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures and closer collaboration with international partners to address these growing threats effectively. Failure to take action only emboldens malicious actors and puts sensitive information and national security at risk. It is imperative that governments prioritize cybersecurity and work together to combat these evolving threats in the digital age.


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