China to Crack Down on Computer Hackers

By Erin Harrison August 29, 2011

China prosecutors are cracking down on computer hackers by imposing stiffer policies for those caught doing it, according to state media, citing an official statement from the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP).

According to China’s Xinhua news agency, on Monday the two groups “jointly issued a legal interpretation that aims to fight hacking and other Internet crimes more aggressively.”

China is one of the countries most affected by hacking and cyber crimes, according to the joint statement, which said “a crime endangering information network security poses a threat not only to network security but also to national security and public interests.”

As of new rules that will take effect Sept. 1, people who “knowingly purchase, sell or cover-up illegally obtained data or network control will be subject to criminal penalties,” the official cited a statement as saying.

In 2009, more than 42,000 Chinese websites were “distorted” by hackers, Xinhua said.

“Such activities have become increasingly unrestrained, even giving rise to large online transaction platforms. Penalizing these violations helps sever the profit chain of hacking and other related crimes,” according to the statement.

Almost half of the nearly 500,000 cyberattacks aimed at computers in China in 2010 originated overseas, according to government officials who reportedly said the vast majority of the attacks a Chinese monitoring agency reported were in the form of Trojan horse malware that installs on computers, TechZone recently reported.

More than 1 million IP addresses in China were controlled from overseas in 2009, 42,000 websites were distorted by hackers, and 18 million Chinese computers have been infected by the Conficker virus every month, or about 30 percent of computers infected globally, the statement says, citing previous research.

Statistics from the Ministry of Public Security show that the number of viruses circulating on the Internet has surged 80 percent year-on-year in the past five years, Xinhua said.

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Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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