China’s net­works con­stantly tar­geted: cy­berspace ex­pert

Global Times - Weekend - - NATION - By Guo Yuan­dan and Liu Caiyu

China is a vic­tim of cy­ber at­tacks and is con­stantly be­ing tar­geted by over­seas in­tel­li­gence de­part­ments, a cy­berspace ex­pert said re­cently.

Xiao Xin­guang, the chief tech­ni­cal ar­chi­tect of Bei­jing­based An­tiy Labs, told the Global Times that China faces cy­ber at­tacks mainly from ad­vanced cy­ber threat agents, most of which are over­seas in­tel­li­gence de­part­ments.

The ad­vanced cy­ber at­tacks on China mainly tar­get po­lit­i­cal, mil­i­tary, tech­nol­ogy re­search in­sti­tutes and univer­si­ties and other high-value fields. The at­tacks aim to ac­quire clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion. Even though there are only a few at­tacks from ad­vanced cy­ber threat agents, their source is dif­fi­cult to iden­tify, Xiao noted.

The re­cent ac­cu­sa­tion re­ported by Reuters on Thurs­day, said the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment in­tel­li­gence depart­ment was be­hind a mas­sive breach of Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional’s con­fi­den­tial files.

“We firmly ob­ject to mak­ing ground­less ac­cu­sa­tions on the is­sue of cy­ber se­cu­rity,” said For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Geng Shuang at a press briefing on Thurs­day. China firmly op­poses all forms of cy­ber at­tack and cracks down on them in ac­cor­dance with the law, Geng said. If ev­i­dence of an at­tack were pro­vided the rel­e­vant Chi­nese de­part­ments will carry out an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, he said.

Mean­while, China is still not able to cope with cy­ber at­tacks due to a lack of pro­tec­tion on its key in­for­ma­tion sys­tems and in­fra­struc­ture. China’s net­work has been pen­e­trated by low-level ran­som ware many times, Xiao noted.

In May 2017, a ran­som ware virus, called Wan­naCry, which is be­lieved to have been de­vel­oped by the US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency, at­tacked in­ter­net users in hun­dreds of coun­tries and East China’s Jiangsu and Zhe­jiang prov­inces were the most af­fected re­gions in China. Univer­si­ties, train sta­tions, post of­fices, hospi­tals and gov­ern­ment ter­mi­nals were im­pacted by the virus.

In a bid to safe­guard its cy­berspace sovereignty, China passed a cy­ber se­cu­rity law in 2016 al­low­ing po­lice and other law en­force­ment agen­cies to take nec­es­sary mea­sures, against over­seas in­di­vid­u­als or or­ga­ni­za­tions that “at­tack, in­trude, in­ter­fere with or sab­o­tage the na­tion’s key in­for­ma­tion in­fra­struc­ture.” Penal­ties can in­clude freez­ing hack­ers’ as­sets.

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