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US main source of cyberattacks against China


08:17, March 11, 2013

China was subject to an increasing number of cyberattacks in the first two months of this year, with more than half launched from the United States, China's Internet security watchdog said.

In the past two months, 6,747 overseas servers were found to use Trojans or botnets to control nearly 1.9 million mainframes in China. Among them, 2,194 servers located in the United States had controlled 1.287 million mainframes, making it the largest point of origin of cyberattacks against China, the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Center said on Sunday.

More than 11,000 Chinese websites were hacked by 5,324 mainframe computers from overseas in January and February using the backdoor method, with more than 3,500 websites hacked by 1,959 mainframe computers in the United States. Some 132 mainframe computers located in Japan controlled 473 websites.

Ninety-six percent of phishing sites targeting Chinese e-commerce users were running on foreign servers, with US-based servers hosting 73.1 percent, the Chinese computer emergency response center affiliated to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.

The popular news portals, and have all been victims of attacks from foreign Internet Protocol addresses in the past two months, the report said.

A total of 85 websites of public institutions and companies were hacked from September 2012 to February, including government agencies, a provincial examination authority, a property insurance company and a virus research facility in Central China, according to the report.

It noted that attacks on 39 of those websites were recorded from IPs within the United States.

From November to January, the China National Vulnerability Database also recorded 5,792 hacking attempts from US IP addresses, the report said.

US accusations

Last month, the US cybersecurity firm Mandiant released a report alleging that a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai was behind years of cyberattacks against US companies.

It said Chinese cyberspies infiltrated overseas networks and stole massive amounts of data from US companies and other entities.

The report was followed by criticism from Western media of hacking by China, saying that their computer networks were targeted by cyberattacks originating from China and backed by the government or military.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday said "cyberspace needs rules and cooperation, not war", adding that China is vulnerable to cyberattacks.

"The international community is closely interconnected on the Internet, therefore cyberspace needs rules and cooperation, not war," Yang said at a news conference held on the sidelines of the national legislature's annual session.

"We oppose turning cyberspace into another battlefield, or to capitalize on virtual reality to interfere in other countries' internal affairs," he said.

China always advocates a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace and supports relevant international rules under the framework of the United Nations and proposes concrete initiatives, Yang said.

"We hope irresponsible rebuke or criticism (against China) will end," the foreign minister said.

Defense Ministry has also refuted the accusations from the US.

The US government's "pre-emptive" policy against attacks by expanding its cyberwar force and setting rules on cyberwar, exposed by the American media, will not be constructive in promoting cybersecurity among the international community, Geng Yansheng, ministry spokesman, said on Feb 28.

Chinese military websites were attacked an average 144,000 times a month in 2012 by foreign hackers, with 62.9 percent from the US, he said.

"China has been a major victim of cyberattacks for years, and the Chinese government is strongly against hacking behaviors and will crack down on hacking in accordance with the law," a spokesman with the CNCERT said.

Xinhua and Associated Press contributed to this story.

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