BEIJING - A chief editor with the official website of China's Ministry
of National Defense (MOD), www.mod.gov.cn, said Tuesday the site still
receives thousands of overseas-based hacking attacks everyday after more
than six months of trial operations.
"Although the number of hacking attacks has declined since the first
month of trial operations, we are still attacked by Internet hackers
everyday," Ji Guilin, chief editor of the ministry's website, told
However, Mr. Ji refused to release a specific total number of hacking
attacks so far or the major sources or origins of those attacks due to
the sensitive nature of the issue.
But he said most of the overseas visitors to the website's Chinese pages
were tracked to IP addresses registered in the U.S., Australia,
Singapore, Japan and Canada. While most of the overseas visits to the
English pages were tracked to the U.S., Australia and the United
The MOD website was unveiled in August last year, an effort, in many
analysts' views, by the Chinese government and the 2.3-million-strong
People's Liberation Army (PLA) to increase military transparency.
Ji said the website experienced more than 2.3 million attacks by hackers
within its first month of operation, most of which attempted to
penetrate the site's computer systems and change its homepage.
The website's claims of Internet hacking attacks echoed a military
official's comment last month on allegations of the Chinese government's
involvement into cyber attacks on foreign companies.
Defense Ministry spokesman Huang Xueping said Chinese networks,
especially the military information network, had been a major target for
The uniformed officer's remark came after former U.S. intelligence
officials said the Chinese military was recruiting Internet hackers to
break into U.S. government and company computer networks.
Prof. Tan Kaijia, of the PLA's National Defense University, told Xinhua
that Chinese military facilities had been targeted by hackers who tried
all means to tap into their Internet-wired computers.
Although the PLA's internal computer network is physically isolated from
other networks, new technical tools have allowed spies to wirelessly
sneak into an electronic device or facility.
"Technically speaking, there is always the possibility of hacking a
network from thousands of miles away if it is connected to the Internet,
whether or not it has a firewall," Senior Colonel Tan said.
"The alleged Chinese military-backed hacking of US sites proves that
they did not understand the PLA's functions and missions," said Tan, who
specializes in military equipment and logistics.
Tan revealed that so far the PLA has not constituted a cyber warfare
unit, saying the allegation was mystifying and merely an excuse for the
U.S. to strengthen cyber warfare technologies.
"Scenarios of different versions of Chinese hacking have not been rare,
since the US is developing its own cyber warfare powers and
overestimated the abilities of Chinese Internet users," he said.
Last year, accusations of Chinese hacking into the U.S. Department of
Defense network emerged in the U.S. media just before the Pentagon
announced the establishment of the new U.S. Cyber Command, which is
subordinated to the U.S. Strategic Command and responsible for
coordinating computer-network defense and cyber-attack operation.
"The PLA has academic researchers on information warfare, but is not
capable of conducting actual cyber-attack operations. Chinese laws
prohibit any forms of cyber-attack.
"Nor is the PLA allowed to hire civilian hackers, and hacking foreign
government and company networks has nothing to do with the PLA's
missions." Tan said.
Civilian networks in China seemed much more vulnerable to hackers. As a
result, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Monday
issued a nationwide plan to safeguard the security of domain name
systems for government websites and vital networks amid surging Internet
security threats and risks.
Last week, police in central China's Hubei Province destroyed the
country's biggest hacker training organization and arrested three people
who were suspected of running the Black Hawk Safety Network.
The network was suspected of offering online hacker tools, a crime that
was listed in China's Criminal Law last year.
Statistics from the National Computer Network Emergency Response
Technical Team/Coordination Center (CNCERT/CC) reveal about 262,000
Chinese computers were hijacked by Trojan programs tracked to overseas
IP addresses in 2009. The top source of the programs, 16.61 percent,
were computers based in the United States.
The number of Chinese computers controlled by botnets in 2009 was
837,000. A total of 19,000 overseas-hosted addresses, of which, 22.34
percent were from the U.S., participated in controlling the Chinese
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