Government and Policy

China 'biggest victim' of cyber attacks

By Yan Jie (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-25 07:08
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A senior official in charge of Internet security has claimed that the country has become the world's biggest victim of cyber attacks.

In an interview with Xinhua over the weekend, Zhou Yonglin, deputy chief of the operations department of China National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT), also dismissed Google's allegation that hackers traced to China had attacked its servers.

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Google has not yet given CNCERT any report on the company's complaints about the attacks, according to Zhou.

"We have been hoping that Google will contact us so that we could have details on this issue and provide them help if necessary."

Foreign firms such as eBay have turned to CNCERT for cyber security issues in the past year.

Last year, the Internet security watchdog received 21,618 complaints from foreign companies, of which 1,095 cases were resolved after combining similar cases, Zhou said. These cases included the trojan and phishing attacks against eBay/Paypal, JPMorgan Chase & Co and MarkMonitor Inc.

China has also sought other countries' help to clear web pages with malicious content, he said.

In November 2009, CNCERT reported to its US counterpart, the US-CERT, about two US-registered domain names that were planting trojans on hundreds of Chinese websites. The domain names were shut down within two days of CNCERT's requests.

With the number of Chinese netizens soaring but their Internet security awareness lagging, hackers have made China their primary target, Zhou said.

He accused overseas hackers, especially those in the US, of illegally controlling computers in China by implanting malicious programs including trojans and zombie programs.

"Compared with (Internet security issues in) the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea, it is very serious in China," he said.

Last year, 262,000 IP addresses in China were hit by trojans planted by nearly 165,000 overseas IP addresses.

"Those from the US ranked first, accounting for 16.61 percent," Zhou said.

China had the most zombie program-infected computers in 2008, accounting for 13 percent of the worldwide total, with IP addresses in the US accounting for the highest number of hackers.

Overseas hackers have also become a major force in defacing China's websites.

The US was the source of most web-based attacks in 2008, Zhou said, citing a Symantec report on Internet security threats published last April. Symantec is the world's biggest cyber security company.

The report said that 33 percent of the world's zombie servers were located in the US, more than any other country.