The Norwegian government has claimed that Chinese hackers were responsible for a cyberattack on the country’s parliament in March this year, and called on Beijing to tackle and prevent such “malicious” activities.

In a statement on Monday, Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said that an investigation into an attack on the national parliament’s email system on March 10 concluded that the attack “was carried out from China.” 

She said that several of Norway’s allies, the European Union and Microsoft had also confirmed the findings of the country’s intelligence services. The attacks had targeted a security hole in Microsoft’s Exchange software, the minister said.

“This is a serious incident which has hit our most important democratic institution,” she noted.

Eriksen Soereide said the Chinese ambassador to Norway had been summoned to discuss the issue, adding that she hoped Beijing would take the matter very seriously. “Chinese authorities must prevent such attacks from taking place,” she stated.

The minister’s comments came as the UK, US, Canada and the EU accused China and its Ministry of State Security of a global cyber hacking campaign linked with an earlier attack on Microsoft.

“The cyberattack on Microsoft Exchange Server by Chinese state-backed groups was a reckless but familiar pattern of behavior,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in a statement on Monday. 

In March, Microsoft announced that a cyber breach had affected tens of thousands computers worldwide. The firm blamed “a group assessed to be state-sponsored and operating out of China.”

The Chinese government is yet to respond to Monday’s accusations, but has previously denied Microsoft’s claims of involvement.

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