The Biden administration blamed China on Monday for a cyberattack that compromised more than a million Microsoft customers, but stopped short of sanctioning Beijing for contracting with hackers.
The United Kingdom, European Union, and NATO joined the United States in condemning China for facilitating the March attack on Microsoft Exchange email servers. But President Joe Biden and State Department spokesman Ned Price dismissed the need for retaliation, causing some lawmakers to question the Biden administration’s ability to combat hostile foreign actors.
"The recent Microsoft Exchange hack is just the latest in a series of escalating cyber threats to come out of China, and yet this administration continues to bury its head in the sand as it has done on Russia," Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R., N.Y.) told the Washington Free Beacon. "The United States must make it clear that there are severe consequences for cyberattacks that affect Americans and our allies and partners."
The Biden administration has come under fire for its inconsistent response to foreign cyberattacks. The White House sanctioned Russia in April following Kremlin-directed hacks on critical U.S. infrastructure. But Biden came under fire in June for giving Russian president Vladimir Putin a list of targets that should remain "off-limits" to cyberattacks.