Joint efforts needed to battle hackers

Updated: 2011-08-10 21:25


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DALIAN - China needs to join hands with other countries to fight against cyberattacks as the country has become one of the world's biggest victims of the menace, a computer security official said Wednesday.

China was hit by nearly 493,000 cyberattacks last year, about half of which appeared to have originated from foreign countries, including the United States and India, according to a report issued on Tuesday by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Center of China (CNCERT/CC), the country's primary computer security monitoring network.

Most of the attacks came in the form of malicious "Trojan" software used by hackers to gain access to target computers, according to Zhou Yonglin, head of the CNCERT/CC's operation and management department.

About 10 percent of China's 45,000 government websites were targeted by hackers last year, up 67.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the report.

The report said 14.7 percent of the attacks came from Internet Protocol addresses (IPs) located in the United States, with another 8 percent located in India.

However, cyberattacks go beyond the boundaries of nations due to the openness of the Internet, making it difficult to truly determine where the attacks are coming from, Zhou said.

"We cannot say for certain that the hackers were located abroad simply because their Internet Protocol addresses (IPs) were located in other countries," Zhou said.

"Likewise, we cannot say that hackers are actually in China simply because their IPs are located in China," Zhou added.

China has the world's largest population of Internet users, topping 485 million as of June this year, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

The country's online population is increasing at a rate of over 10 percent annually, according to the statistics.

However, Internet security in China is facing "serious threats" as various cyber-viruses and worms continuously mushroom, Zhou said.

Moreover, the lack of awareness about cyberattacks and necessary protection measures among the vast Chinese Internet users make China more vulnerable to cyberattacks, Zhou added.

China has stepped up efforts to fight against cyberattacks.

In 2010, the Ministry of Public Security embarked on a special operation to hunt for hackers who make and sell phishing and malicious software or organize website attacks.

During the operation, 180 cases of cyberattacks were uncovered and nearly 500 hacker suspects were detained.

Zhou said China is actively seeking to cooperate with other countries to ensure the Internet security as cross-border cyberattacks have been growing fast.

International cooperation has been enhanced to crack down on cross-border cyberattacks, according to the report.

In May 2010, Beijing and Seoul joined hands to thwart Republic of Korea-originated cyberattacks targeting a ring-back tone website registered in northwest China.

Four months later, CNCERT/CC took part in an annual emergency response drill on cyber-security, which was also attended by Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) organizations from nine other countries including Japan, India and Thailand.

In March of the same year, China and the United States initiated a mechanism of dialogue on Internet security, to enhance exchanges on blocking spam and combating cyberattacks.