Cyber minister proposes security fix

Updated: 2013-11-06 09:41

By CHEN JIA in Stanford, California (China Daily USA)

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Speaking at Stanford University on Tuesday, China's minister of the State Council Information Office called for "strengthening international cooperation in cyber security".

"Cyber security should be built on the basis of coexistence and cooperation, as cooperation is the only way to achieve win-win solutions to shared problems," Minster Cai Mingzhao said in a keynote address to more than 350 participants from 40 countries at the EastWest Institute's 4th Worldwide Cyberspace Cooperation Summit.

To maintain cyber security, we need to "show respect for national sovereignty over cyberspace" and "build a robust legal system", he said.

"We are ready to expand our cooperation with other countries and relevant international organizations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit," he said.

China first accessed the Internet in 1994 via facilities based in the United States. Today, it has more than 600 million Internet users.

Internet-based IT businesses have become a pillar of the Chinese economy, accounting for 10 percent of the nation's GDP.

However, the country faces serious cyber threats. Between January and August of this year, more than 20,000 websites based in China were modified by hackers and more than 8 million servers, 14 percent more than during the same period last year, were compromised and commandeered by overseas computers via zombie and Trojan programs.

These activities have caused severe damage to China's economy and people's everyday lives, Cai said. More than 80 percent of Chinese Internet users have fallen victim to cyber-attacks at some time or other. The annual economic losses run to the tens of billions of dollars a year.

Cybercrime — especially Internet fraud — is on the rise year by year and the Internet is increasingly associated with illegal and criminal behavior, he said.

Cai proposed that the international community should first, within the framework of the United Nations, define basic rules guiding behavior in cyberspace that can be observed by all countries, creating a fair and transparent mechanism for the governance of cyberspace step by step, he said.

He also noted the importance of "creating communication channels to facilitate the international cooperation" and "tackling urgent problems through effective means".

"The United States and China are Internet giants. We share many common interests and there is enormous scope for cooperation," Cai said.

James Creighton, COO of the EastWest Institute, said he was excited by the fact that Cai recognized that "each country has its sovereign rights within its own borders and within those rights you have to work together as a group of nations across the world".

Joe Sullivan, the chief security officer of Facebook, told China Daily on Tuesday that Cai impressed him with his "willingness to be here to have a dialogue".

"Major countries are coming together and talking with each other," Sullivan said. "The future of Internet is bright."

Sue Dark, CEO of Dallas-based DeepNines Technologies, called Cai's speech powerful. "I would love to see an outcome from this event where we have more alignment internationally," she said.

"Cai conveyed the cooperation between the US and China very well and was very sincere," said Sam Srinivasan of Health Languge, Inc. "I think he understands the real issues behind it and that the super powers have to cooperate inside the problem."

chenjia@chinadailyusa.com

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