Norway on Monday, July 19 concluded that China was responsible for the March 10 cyber breach on its parliament’s e-mail system. 

“This was a very serious incident affecting our most important democratic institution,” Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide said in a statement. “Following a detailed intelligence assessment, it is our view that the vulnerabilities have been exploited by actors operating out of China.”

On March 10, hackers penetrated the Norwegian Parliament’s computer systems and extracted data, marking the second breach six months after another cyberattack on the system. 

The parliament said at the time that the hacked email system was related to the Microsoft Exchange Server breach, given that information from some members of the parliament and staff were unfortunately extracted by the hackers. 

The U.S., European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and NATO all pointed fingers at the Chinese hackers during the same day. According to The Hill, the group of nations alleged they were those who took advantage of Microsoft’s security flaw and orchestrated the cyberattack that has compromised thousands of organizations around the world.

The U.S. in particular asserted with “high confidence” that China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) was behind the entire mischief. It believes that China had ordered the criminal contract hackers to perform cyber-related extortion, “crypto-jacking” and other schemes.

Eriksen Søreide added that Norway had contacted China to discuss the problem, hoping that the Asian government would not allow such a breach again.

“We expect China to take this issue seriously, and to ensure that such incidents are not repeated,” Eriksen Søreide emphasized, noting that Norway had summoned the Chinese Embassy to talk about the aggression. 

“Allowing such malicious cyber activities to take place is in contradiction of the norms of responsible state behavior endorsed by all UN Member States,” he added.

The Chinese Embassy in Norway denied the allegations, accusing the other way around that the Western countries’ conclusion was a “collusively political manipulation,” according to Reuters.  

“We are willing to cooperate with all relevant parties, based on facts and evidence, to jointly combat illegal activities in cyberspace. At the same time, we strongly oppose baseless accusations and smears towards China and politicizing relevant issues,” it said in an emailed statement to the outlet.