hacker laptop  United Arab Emirates
© Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova
The three men are accused of gaining ‘unauthorized access to protected computers in the United States and elsewhere’.
Washington accusing other states of leading cyberwarfare against the US is like "a thief crying 'stop, thief!'" Beijing said, reacting to revelations the CIA used Swiss cryptography firm Crypto AG to spy on hundreds of countries.

The US government has "conducted large-scale, organized and indiscriminate cyber theft, tapping and surveillance on foreign governments, businesses and individuals, a fact already well-known to all," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing in Beijing.

These spying activities, which violate international law and undermine trust between the US and other nations, had been unmasked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and by WikiLeaks - a fact Geng was also keen to remind the audience of. Among other things, the Americans have been collecting billions of phonecalls around the globe on a daily basis and were even revealed to be spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

The Chinese official pointed out that Washington never explained itself over those leaks and "now the Crypto AG incident adds... one more thing for the US to clarify to the world."

Last week, the Washington Post revealed that the US had been using a Swiss encryption company, Crypto AG, to monitor "secure" communications between as many as 120 countries since the 1970s and well into 2000s. The firm sold "encrypted" devices to government agencies worldwide, but was secretly owned by the CIA and then-West German intelligence. The Americans hailed the operation as the "intelligence coup of the century."

"Facts have proven time and again that as the largest state actor of espionage in the cyber space, the US is worthy of the name of 'Empire of Hackers.'"

Geng said the US has "no credibility" in accusing other countries of hacking and spying, but it "keeps playing the victim of cyberattack[s], like a thief crying 'stop thief'!"

"It's hypocrisy on the issue of cyber security [that] could not be clearer," he added.

The foreign affairs spokesman decried the last week's indictment of four Chinese military officials over the Equifax breach in 2017, which saw the data of some 150 million US citizens stolen then put on sale online. China had nothing to do with the breach, he insisted.

Meanwhile, the US has been hard at work pressuring other countries to move away from adopting the 5G wireless communication standard as provided by Chinese tech giant Huawei. That goal has even brought together the Democrats and the Republicans, if briefly, when Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the stage at the Munich Security Conference and echoed Donald Trump's apocalyptic rhetoric on Huawei.

Pelosi warned that using Chinese tech is "a most insidious form of aggression" which would let national telecoms be "dominated by a government who does not share our values." Those comments were swiftly rebuked by Beijing as "lies not based on facts."

During the briefing, Geng provided his own list of Washington's aggressive actions targeting China in cyberspace, including "controlling over three million Chinese computers and implanting Trojan Horse in more than 3,600 Chinese websites on an annual basis."