WELLINGTON - Chinese authorities on Tuesday denied carrying out a massive hack of key Microsoft servers, describing US allies' allegations as "groundless" and "irresponsible".
The United States and several allies have publicly accused China of hacking Microsoft Exchange -- an email platform used by corporations around the world.
In China's first official response, embassies in Australia and New Zealand issued fiery statements of denial.
The Chinese embassy in Wellington described the allegations as "totally groundless and irresponsible" and a "malicious smear."
The embassy in Canberra accused Australia of "parroting" US rhetoric and described Washington as "the world champion of malicious cyber attacks."
President Joe Biden's administration has accused China of fostering an "ecosystem of criminal contract hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own financial gain."
Attribution of sophisticated cyberattacks is both technically difficult and politically fraught -- so the rare decision by US allies to publicly blame China had been expected to bring a sharp response.
"Given the virtual nature of cyberspace, one must have clear evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents," the Chinese embassy in New Zealand said.
© Agence France-Presse