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12/2/2010
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China Struggling To Combat Hackers

Ministry of Public Security said it's seen an 80% annual increase in hacking cases since 2006.

Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain
Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain
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China continues to crack down on hackers operating inside its borders, but it's facing an uphill battle. So said a statement released Monday by China's Ministry of Public Security.

Officials said that from January 2010 to the end of November, they'd arrested 460 hacking suspects, cracked 180 cases involving hacking and busted 14 websites which provided hacking tools and support. But the Ministry also said that the number of hacking cases it sees have been increasing by about 80% per year since 2006, challenging law enforcement agencies' ability to crack down.

"Hacking attacks and the destruction they cause are rapidly increasing. We face a grim situation," said Gu Jian, deputy director of the network security bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, according to an article published on Thursday by People's Daily Online, an English-language Chinese daily newspaper.

According to the newspaper, one case detailed by Gu involved a "hacking training website" called the Huaxia Hacking Union, which was shuttered by police in the city of Macheng. Authorities confiscated $54,000 in profits and found that between the website's founding in November 2006 and forced closure in August 2010, it had amassed about 10,000 members.

Botnets are a pervasive problem in China. According to Ministry statistics cited by the newspaper, 80% of PCs in China "have at some point been controlled by botnets," Furthermore, in the first half of 2010, 127,000 IP addresses from overseas were "involved in maliciously controlling computers" in China.

On a similar note, authorities said that 80% of attacks against China's government websites are launched from overseas. The public details of China's ongoing crackdown on online criminals inside its borders came on the heels of Sunday's release of hundreds of thousands of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks. According to the New York Times, the cables revealed that China's Politburo directed the attacks made against Google that occurred late last year, and were disclosed in January 2010.

The statement from China's Ministry of Public Security didn't address those allegations or comment on recent accusations -- questioned by outside experts -- that a leading Chinese Internet service provider rerouted sensitive U.S. government website traffic for 18 minutes earlier this year.

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