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China-made components add security

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-04 07:20

CASIC rolls out latest upgrade for intranet to prevent cyberattacks

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, a major defense contractor, has deployed the latest wave of technology in the country's largest secure intranet, which is entirely based on domestically developed hardware and software.

As one of the country's biggest arms-makers, CASIC pays great attention to information safety. Since the secure intranet project began in 2014, it has grown to connect about 20,000 computers and is the country's largest domestically sourced system, according to Shen Shiguang, deputy head of the Beijing Institute of Computer Technology and Application.

The institute is part of the CASIC Second Academy and is in charge of building and maintaining the intranet. The project was first aimed at replacing imported computers and software - which had been employed for a long time to handle classified defense information - with domestically developed technology. In September 2015, CASIC expanded the project to include all the company's computers dealing with commercial secrets.

The newly upgraded intranet features a high level of security. It is physically isolated from the internet and other publicly accessible networks, and because it is based on Chinese-designed hardware and software, it essentially eliminates the possibility of technical backdoors that are subject to hacking, Shen said.

He said a number of information security hazards have existed inside the networks and computers used by key Chinese organizations - especially those related to infrastructure and national security - since most of their processors, operating systems and storage devices were developed by foreign enterprises.

"Almost all nations of the world, especially big powers, are sparing no effort to make sure that their classified information is well protected," Shen said. "For China, if we couldn't have our own systems, our information networks would face intimidation or threats from foreign countries, and we wouldn't be able to upgrade or repair them."

Through steady improvements, most software on the CASIC internal system has become easy to use and runs as fast and as smoothly as those based on Intel chips and Microsoft software, he said.

"We will continue to build the network," Shen said. "We plan to take three years to make it connect with at least 50,000 computers within the company."

He added that the institute is leading a national program sponsored by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to promote secure intranet to government departments and enterprises tied to national security.

China's top leadership has repeatedly stressed the significance of information security. In February 2014, the Communist Party of China Central Committee set up the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, headed by President Xi Jinping.

Developing and adopting indigenous information systems does not go against the country's commitment to an open market, as no nation should be willing to entrust its secrets to foreign platforms, said Ni Guangnan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and expert on information technology.

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