Web firms vow crackdown on cybercrimes
Updated: 2013-06-27 06:47
By He Wei in Hangzhou (China Daily)
Leading Internet companies in China pledged to form the nation's first anti-cyber fraud initiative to combat the growing threat of illegal online activities.
Alibaba Group Holding, the country's top e-commerce vendor, partnered with 16 domestic counterparts, aiming to tackle large-scale organized cybercrime through concerted efforts by sharing critical information.
The consortium of the committee includes search engine provider Baidu Inc, micro blog operator Sina Corp, as well as game company Shanda Interactive Entertainment.
The move follows a June 18 call from the Ministry of Public Security, which reiterated the importance of engagement between the private sector and law enforcement agencies to achieve a better response to e-crime and fraud.
"Alibaba chooses to join hands with heavyweight industry players to send a clear signal that on the Internet security front, Web firms have common grounds and shared interests," the company's chief risk officer Shao Xiaofeng told the first Internet Transaction Security Summit on Tuesday.
According to Shao, the committee is keen to safeguard netizens, as around 40 percent of the population have access to the Internet and a growing proportion is using online banking.
Shao said a common resource pool will be dedicated to prevent leakage of personal information, make online purchasing more secure and stamp out other online exploitation like gambling and pornography.
Participating parties should identify information overlaps and intelligence gaps, he noted. The alliance is to map out a detailed plan for action later this year.
The unit is set to become a hub for cooperation for member companies, where they pull together to cut down identity theft via social networking sites, in which many accounts are already blocked due to malicious activity, said Ye Fei, deputy general manager of Shanda.
Cyber =crimes have grown sophisticated by implementing cross-platform schemes and thereby skirting supervision loopholes, said Jia Jinyang, director of sales and supervision department at Baidu.
A fraud will release false information via a search engine site, approach customers through instant messaging applications and complete online transactions over third party payment systems, he said.
For instance, deceptive merchants may send a "spear phishing" e-mail containing an infected file or a link to a malicious Web site. Once the link is opened, malware is installed on the computer that allows criminals to access banking logins and passwords.
To fend off such malpractices, the dedicated unit will be tasked to detect possible scams by sharing merchants accounts and verifying their authentication, and in due time warn and block hazardous information and transaction requests, Jia said.
Ding Renren, head of cybersecurity at Zhejiang provincial public security department, touted the efforts from enterprises to guard against high-tech scams, and vowed to provide support and guidance in future collaborative investigations.
"The bloc is expected to liaise with cybercrime investigators, as we want enhanced communication between the two parties so that time and resources can be saved to minimize confusion and avoid redundant investigative works that might have been carried out by the retailers," he said.
He insisted cybercriminals should not disrupt people's digital lives, and such moves will help defend an Internet that is free, open and safe.
China had cracked down on more than 130 websites that engaged in fraud and blackmail by the end of 2012, according to the National Internet Information Office.
By June, half of reported crimes this year fall into the cyberfraud category, the Ministry of Public Security said.
Many countries have stepped up efforts to dampen cybercrimes under government-led initiatives. For instance, a specialized cybercrime center was set up last March under the auspices of the European Commission to contain online fraud.
(China Daily USA 06/27/2013 page6)