China Bites Back And Links US to Cyber-Attacks

A Chinese report turns the tables and links US IP addresses to increased cyber-attacks on its websites

China says US hackers are among the quarter of a million foreign cyber-attacks it suffered last year. The report from China’s cyber-security watchdog claims China was attacked nearly half a million times last year, with half of those coming from abroad.

Around 75,000 attacks originated from American IP addresses, reports the Xinhua news agency. Forty thousand attacks originated in India and most were Trojan horses.

This is a distinct role reversal after years of reports linking China with hacks of Western organisations, including some military and security outfits.

Reboot on the other foot

In a restrained manner, Zhou Yonglin, the head of China’s cyber-security watchdog, did not indulge in finger pointing, as such. He told Xinhua: “We cannot say for certain that the hackers were located abroad simply because their Internet Protocol addresses (IPs) were located in other countries. Likewise, we cannot say that ‘Chinese’ hackers are actually in China simply because their IPs are located in China.”

He also said the volume of attacks faced by China makes it among the world’s most attacked countries. A reported 10 percent of the country’s 45,000 government websites were targeted last year, an increase of 67.6 percent.

It was reported in July that China had almost half its websites purged in a year.  A million websites were shutdown in 2010 due to censorship, according to analysts; or for legal infractions and economic trouble, according to the government. Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Centre place China at the top of the Internet population charts with 485million by this June. The statistics also reportedly shows an annual growth of 10 percent.

The finger has been pointed at China over attacks on Google’s Gmail email service, the RSA Security breach and a huge five-year long cyber-attack on the US and UN, among others.