Au­thor­i­ties crack down on info leaks

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN zhangyan1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Po­lice have de­tained 90 com­puter hack­ers and ar­rested 3,300 sus­pects they say were in­volved in the trad­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion since April, the Min­istry of Public Se­cu­rity said on Mon­day.

Among those were 270 staff mem­bers who po­lice say fa­cil­i­tated the leaks and traded per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in the bank­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, tele­com and ex­press de­liv­ery sec­tors.

Mean­while, po­lice closed 900 web­sites and col­umns since April, af­ter launch­ing a cam­paign to tar­get the on­line trad­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Also on Mon­day, the min­istry is­sued A-level ar­rest war­rants, the high­est level, for 10 at-large sus­pects in­volved in tele­com fraud cases. Peo­ple who pro­vide clues lead­ing to the sus­pects’ ar­rested will be awarded, the min­istry said.

In re­cent years, tele­com fraud has oc­curred fre­quently and has be­come a public plague, vi­o­lat­ing pri­vacy.

“In­fringe­ment of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is a crime that feeds in­ter­net fraud. It has played an es­sen­tial role in tele­com fraud,” the min­istry said, adding that it has or­ga­nized sev­eral ac­tions to com­bat the trad­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion and has ef­fec­tively curbed such crimes. But crim­i­nals have adopted new tech­niques that have cre­ated prac­ti­cal chal­lenges for law en­force­ment.

In ad­di­tion to theft by hack­ers and dis­clo­sure by in­dus­try in­sid­ers, crim­i­nals have cre­ated soft­ware de­signed to steal pass­words and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion kept in com­put­ers.

In ad­di­tion, crim­i­nals have set up strong de­fenses to counter po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and they use web phones and fab­ri­cated user­names to op­er­ate on­line, and trans­fer ac­counts based on QQ groups, web­sites and hacker fo­rums.

The min­istry said it placed a high pri­or­ity on stop­ping the theft of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion and will seek pun­ish­ment of sus­pects who abuse in­for­ma­tion for fraud, rob­bery or ex­tor­tion.

Dur­ing the re­cent ac­tion, po­lice un­cov­ered a series of ma­jor vi­o­la­tions.

In May, the Mianyang po­lice in Sichuan province cap­tured nine sus­pects they said traded per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. They seized many bank credit reports and 132 bank cards, as well as 61 hand-held in­ter­net ter­mi­nals. The money in­volved was about 2.3 mil­lion yuan ($345,000).

In July, po­lice in Jiangsu province broke an­other group, headed by a per­son sur­named Qiu. Of­fi­cers said the group in­cluded hack­ers, in­dus­try in­sid­ers and agents us­ing on­line chan­nels in­clud­ing Taobao and JD.com. The sus­pects il­le­gally traded 60 mil­lion pieces of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, au­thor­i­ties said.

The min­istry said it will pay close at­ten­tion to su­per­vi­sion and will urge key in­dus­tries and in­ter­net plat­forms, in­clud­ing those for in­stant mas­sag­ing and so­cial net­works, to strictly fol­low in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity rules. It will also con­duct thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tions to close loop­holes to en­sure in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity for the public.

Public se­cu­rity de­part­ments should also ad­vise mem­bers of the public “to raise their aware­ness so as to pro­tect their in­di­vid­ual in­for­ma­tion and avoid the leaks that can re­sult in great losses”, said Li Wei, a Bei­jing lawyer.

HAN YUQING / XIN­HUA

Po­lice of­fi­cers es­cort tele­fraud sus­pects at Nan­jing Lukou In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Jiangsu province last Tues­day. A to­tal of 63 sus­pects were brought back from Cam­bo­dia and ac­cused of de­fraud­ing peo­ple on the Chi­nese main­land by pos­ing as law en­force­ment of­fi­cials.

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