Security in cyberspace 'still major problem'

Updated: 2013-07-10 00:34

By CAO YIN (China Daily)

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Cooperation to foil online attacks becoming more elusive, expert says

Cybersecurity remains a serious problem for China, with international cooperation to thwart online attacks becoming more difficult, according to a specialist.

The country's Internet security watchdog said some 5.63 million computers were controlled or affected by 13,408 threats originating from Internet provider addresses and servers in foreign countries and regions between January and May.

Of these originating IPs, 4,062 were in the United States, affecting nearly 2.91 million computers in China, which means the US still hosts the most overseas command and control servers used in the threats, it said.

"It's clear to see the number of attacks and computers affected up to May is still huge. In other words, the situation of online security remains tough," Du Yuejin, deputy chief technology officer of the National Computer Emergency Response Team and Coordination Center of China, told China Daily.

In the first five months of the year, 249 websites of government administrations, information systems and academic institutions were invaded from overseas in "back door" attacks, with 54 websites affected from US IP addresses.

"It's hard to say from the data whether these threats were made solely for political reasons, but Chinese government websites were apparently targeted more," Du said.

Du, also director with the National Institute of Network and Information Security, said he has stated his view many times at international conferences that China has always been opposed to "cyberwarfare" and wants to thwart online attacks through international cooperation.

But he said the prospects for international cooperation, especially that between governments, are not as good as before and the future is not looking hopeful.

In the early stages, cooperation between organizations can help share information, remind each other of threats and facilitate liaison in handling incidents, he said.

"If we find a cyberthreat in other countries, we'll alert related institutions in those countries ... and tackle the problem in an efficient manner. Such efficiency is the key to wiping out online attacks," Du said.

Cracking down on cyberattacks cannot be developed without cooperation between governments, but the problem has not been solved any better, he said.

"Due to some individual online security cases and distrust between governments, some cooperation mechanisms have broken down since 2010," Du said, adding that this is a "big pity".

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