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[April 24, 2014]
Nation becomes playground for foreign hackers [Global Times]
(Global Times Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Graphics: GT Experts have warned China of its vulnerability against cyber security threats despite the latest State of the Internet report from cloud service provider Akamai, which identifies China as the major country of origin for such attacks. According to the report, which was released on Wednesday, 43 percent of observed attack traffic originated from the Chinese mainland during the fourth quarter of 2013, an 8 percent increase from the previous quarter. It was followed by the US at 19 percent and Canada at 10 percent. Attacks originating in Indonesia, which was 20 percent in the third quarter, dropped to 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Despite the surging figure, Akamai said it does not necessarily mean that the attacks were launched by Chinese hackers as the country was only identified by the source IP address. "For example, a criminal in Russia may be launching attacks from compromised systems in China," said the report. Since formally joining the Internet age on April 20, 1994, Chinese Internet users had grown to 618 million by the end of 2013, the largest number in the world. "The huge user group, as well as the lack of technologies, experience and strong teams to counter cyber security threats, has made China a playground for many foreign hackers. They often break into and control servers in China and use them to conduct cyber attacks," Xiang Ligang, CEO of telecom industry portal cctime.com, told the Global Times. Even government departments are vulnerable when they face attacks from hackers, Xiang noted. The Chinese mainland remained one of the top three regions on Akamai's list throughout 2013, accounting for 34 percent of attack traffic in the first quarter, 33 percent the second quarter and 35 percent for the third quarter, according to previous reports. "It is hard to pinpoint what has caused the sudden jump in the last three months in 2013. However, hacking activities could be prompted by the occurrence of major world events, sensitive news or other issues that arouse hackers' interests," Zhang Lei, an Internet technology professional, told the Global Times. Another Hong-Kong-based IT technician who demanded anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday that concentrated attacks are usually launched in the end or at the beginning of a year. "It's their way to send greetings," he said. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Akamai is one of the world's largest providers of cloud services. Its network is allegedly responsible for serving 30 percent of all web traffic.
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