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Chinese government hits back at US and creates security frenzy by banning use of Windows 8

The Chinese government has reportedly banned the use of Windows 8 from all of its computers.

According to the Xinhua news agency, the move is intended as a safety precaution, with the Chinese authorities viewing the operating system as a security liability.

Read more: How five Chinese hackers stole US companies' deepest secrets

Reuters claims that the decision to enforce a ban on Microsoft's computer software was made at some point last week.

It is as yet unclear as to which operating system will replace Windows 8 on the government machines, but its predecessor, Windows 7, looks likeliest, since Microsoft has discontinued support for Windows XP.

However, last month it was reported that the Chinese government had opted to patch XP instead of upgrading to new iterations of Microsoft's computer software.

The move will do little to improve relations between China and the US, with the two superpowers frequently trading accusations of sabotage.

This week, the US prosecuted a group of Chinese hackers, accusing them of "conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse," using the spearfishing technique.

Read more: A hassle-free guide to migrating your business operations from Windows XP

It also represents another painful blow to Microsoft, which has suffered endlessly since the launch of Windows 8 towards the end of 2012.

We'll keep you updated with further news as it breaks.