Hackers are attacking government websites because they are easy targets, a software provider has said.
Beijing Jiangmin New Sci & Tec Co Ltd, an antivirus software provider, said 25 of 300 websites using their programs attacked by hackers last month were government portals.
In East China's Jiangxi Province, 40 websites were attacked by hackers in the first eight months of this year.
An estimated 70 percent of them belonged to the government, according to the Jiangxi Province Computer Users' Association.
The association's general secretary Liu Bin said many of the websites were poorly maintained.
"Most of them do not even install anti-malware programs," he said.
A source at a government-owned Internet security department in Shanghai said few government websites used advanced technology to protect themselves from hackers and viruses.
"In recent years government departments have been required to establish a website and publish information on it. Many of them did so in a hurry, without careful planning. Therefore they are vulnerable," he said.
Jiangmin said, in a statement, that websites with proper protection could not normally be penetrated by hackers.
The company said it was important for computer users to update protection as hackers often change their targets.
In July and August when students graduate, for example, increased attacks on education websites are normal, Jiangmin said.
The Shanghai source said many hackers used information gleaned from websites to steal money.
"By loading spyware into websites and thereby infecting the computers of visitors, hackers can steal their credit card information or accounts at online shops."
In March, a Shanghai man surnamed Cai had 166,000 yuan (US$22,000) taken from two bank accounts.
Investigators found his computer had been invaded by hackers and two suspects were arrested in May, Yunnan Province.
Other hackers simply sell the information, according to the Shanghai source.
"An information package from one computer can be sold for about 500 yuan on the Internet," he said.
By the end of June, China had more than 1.31 million websites.
About 10,000 of them ended with the suffix gov.cn.
(China Daily September 4, 2007)