Despite being tarred with the cyber-attacking brush, China has reportedly become the world's biggest victim of cyber attacks.
According to a report by the People's Daily Online, many domestic computers were controlled via overseas-based IP addresses last year. A report by China's primary computer security monitoring network, the National Computer Network Emergency Response Co-ordination Center of China (CNCERT/CC), said 47,000 overseas IP addresses were involved in attacks against 8.9 million Chinese computers last year.
It claimed that most of the IP addresses originated in Japan, the US and South Korea. It also said that 1,116 domestic websites were tampered with by overseas-based hackers.
Zhou Yonglin, an information security official from the Internet Society of China, told the People's Daily Online that "China has become the world's biggest victim of cyber attacks".
Speaking at the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in London last year, China's ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said China is the victim of cyber crime and not the criminal.
He said: “China has seen an increase in the number of cyber crimes in recent years. Hacking into networks is on the rise – statistics show that cyber crime rose by 340 times between 1998 and 2009. About 60 per cent of military websites faced a security threat of varying degree in 2010.” The video of his speech can be viewed here at V3.co.uk.
Chester Wisniewski, senior security adviser at Sophos Canada, said: “While these numbers do in fact sound large, I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that China is being targeted by Japanese and US cyber criminals.
“I am not suggesting that they are lying, but rather it is likely that these attacks are perpetrated by compromised computers that are controlled by worms attempting to randomly connect to other vulnerable systems.
“At SophosLabs we detect more than 20,000 new infected URLs, not to mention receiving more than 100,000 new malicious code samples every single day. Compare this with 1,116 Chinese websites "tampered with by overseas-based hackers" last year.
Wisniewski said looking at CERT's most recent weekly report, approximately 90 per cent of infections in China were from the Conficker worm, which was first discovered in November 2008.