Keeping cyberspace safe

By Yin Pumin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Beijing Review, March 20, 2014
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For the first time, cybersecurity has been included in the Chinese Government's annual work agenda. "We will safeguard cybersecurity," said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his government work report to this year's full session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, on March 5. The report outlined the top priorities for China's development in 2014 and beyond.

Participants battle simulated attacks at an Internet security contest in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, on April 27, 2013 [By Lin Hong]

Before Li's remarks, President Xi Jinping pledged on February 27 to strengthen China's Internet security and build the nation into a strong cyber power at the first meeting of a central Internet security and informatization leading group, which he heads. Informatization is the extent to which information and communication technologies are utilized by a country in its economic, political and cultural fields and how much of a driving force it is behind each of these.

The group is designed to lead and coordinate Internet security and informatization work between different sectors, as well as draft national strategies, development plans and major policies in this field, according to Xi.

China has to balance its needs to develop IT technologies and safeguard Internet security, Xi said, who stressed their importance by describing the two issues as "the two wings of a bird and the two wheels of an engine."

A weak link

China has the world's largest Internet population. Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) showed the number of Internet users in China reached 618 million at the end of 2013, and the total market value of Internet companies exceeded $300 billion.

Meanwhile, the country is the world's second-largest target for hackers globally in terms of attack frequency, only slightly behind the United States, according to a report from the Web security company Beijing Rising Information Technology Co. Ltd.

According to Cai Mingzhao, Minister of China's State Council Information Office, more than 20,000 websites based in China were targeted by hackers in January-August 2013, and more than 8 million servers were compromised and controlled by overseas computers via zombie and Trojan programs at the same time, up 14 percent from the same period in 2012.

"These activities have caused severe damage to our economy and the everyday lives of the people," Cai said.

On January 21, tens of millions of netizens in China lost access to the World Wide Web due to a critical malfunction of the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure.

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