China not enemy in fight against cybercrime

China not enemy in fight against cybercrime

Summary: The Asian giant is often portrayed as the perpetrator of cyberattacks and online espionage but one Chinese official says it is a victim too, and is eager to play a bigger role in fighting cybercrime.


SINGAPORE--China tend to be targeted for blame when the latest cyberattack is conducted or when trade secrets of other countries are stolen. However, one Chinese official pointed out that the country is also a target for such attacks but it is seldom given a chance to contribute to international efforts to fight against online crimes.

That was the view of Du Yuejin, deputy CTO of national computer emergency response team (CERT) and coordination center of China, who was speaking at the Cybersecurity and Cyberterrorism Conference here on Thursday.

Du said there is a lot of "misunderstanding" toward China today in the cybersecurity realm as many countries assume it is behind many online attacks and attempts to steal state and industrial secrets from governments and private sector organizations to gain an edge politically and economically.

He cited Chinese telecoms equipment vendors Huawei Technologies and ZTE as examples, saying these companies face constant scrutiny and allegations from the U.S. of working with its government to steal trade secrets by monitoring the hardware they sell to American companies.

This fear shown by other countries was also mentioned by industry watchers earlier, when they said China's rising stature in the tech arena posed economic concerns for many developed countries, especially those in the West. Benjamin Cavender, senior analyst at China Market Research, for one, observed the rising influence of Chinese companies in the global IT marketplace could bring tension among other economies most notably the U.S.

Additionally, the country is often excluded from having a voice in global security conferences, the official noted. The annual RSA security conference, for example, goes by the theme of "where the world talks about security" but China is omitted from participating, which he finds "a pity".

This is because, like any other country, China-based organizations are also targets for cyberattacks. Using China's CERT report in March, Du said 47,000 foreign Internet Protocol (IP) addresses had been involved in remotely accessing and controlling computers in China, with some 9,528 U.S.-based IP addresses alone controlling 8.85 million computers in China.

International collaboration needed to stop online crimes
The deputy CTO stressed that the real enemies in the war against cybercrime are those who "abuse information, communication, and technology and exploit vulnerabilities", and countries should not be fighting against each other.

"The misunderstanding against China should be eliminated and everyone must work together to fight against the real enemy," he stated.

Moving forward, he hopes there will be more opportunities for China to have a say in international conferences and countries will start to view China as an ally, not enemy, in the fight against cybercrime, the official said.

Some of its contributions to the cause can be seen in its efforts to foster global collaboration by asking governments to guard against online threats in a 2002 proposal to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), he pointed out.

China also established an Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations)-China Framework for network and information security emergency responses in the area of information sharing for IT security, Du added.

Topics: Security, Government, Networking, China

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Bad Timing

    Your article 'China not enemy in fight against cybercrime' is right below 'Philippine police arrest 357 foreigners for cyberfraud' whose summary states "A group mainly comprising Chinese and Taiwanese nationals have been rounded up in a sting operation for their alleged involvement in a scheme where victims are tricked to transfer money online."

    Of course, reading the actual articles changes things.
  • Live from Mars

    Do not run! We are your friends.
    Robert Hahn
    • LOL - I was thinking the same thing except from the 80's

      TV Series "V" and how that all played out. I'm sorry I'm not sure how anyone could take a "Hey we are victim" or "...friends" comment form China seriously. That country is whacked.
  • Uh no...

    Just because China gets attacked by cyber-crime doesn't mean it's not the worlds biggest hacker community, because it is, and most of it is directly backed and organised by government.
  • Typical chinese misdirection

    Huawei Technologies is part of the problem, i.e., the United States International Trade Commission looking into them acquiring US intellectual property.

    "US Department of Commerce blocked it from getting involved in the building of a national wireless emergency communications network."

    "FBI had opened a criminal investigation into ZTE's business in Iran. ZTE is also under investigation by the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee over whether its equipment represents a threat to national security.Please go back to writing crime fiction."

    "Ah, me so sorry ..."
  • China cybercrime

    China wants to get more involved so they can find out what everyone else is doing to stop cybercrime. Then they will pass that info to their hackers to find workarounds.
    • Bingo! ....

      Unfortunately I don't think a lot of people that are "smart" understand that.
  • Respectfully Disagree

    Until retiring, among my IT responsibilities was securing remote access to licensed databases for a major academic library, with combined annual subscription costs of millions of dollars per year. I can assure you that there were more penetration attempts from various locations in China than from all other locations in the world combined. At one point I blacklisted the entire country, but this was not practical, as we had researchers and students in China.
  • so ...

    .. who is this common enemy?

    Alien hackers?
    Scarface Claw
  • Also, Bin-Laden only had America's best interests in mind when he attacked

    us on 9/11.

    Just as believable.
  • Well, I don't believe Chinese Government any more...

    Chinese government told too many lies to be believed by others. I, a Chinese and China lover, shame on our government.
  • Not to worry...

    There are plenty of college students who believe the crap this author is peddling... Damn, we're screwed!

    I believe she honestly thinks her article is true. She's probably a good person and living in Asia herself has truly blinded her. If she doesn't have horse blinders on then she is the "alien" trying to get people to align with China!
  • Article written by someone sympathetic to China and of Chinese descent

    What country or group launches command and control servers from THEIR OWN TURF? And by the way, all security stats from AV companies show the huge majority of attacks originate from China. There have even been accidental slips by the Chinese goverment such as the TV story showing their cyber security group and on a computer monitor you could clearly see that a hacker tool was in use and the IP it was scanning was for a U.S. university. Give us a break! And as far as Huwei, rip off artists that they are, follow the legal case where they flat out stole the Cisco OS and were selling hardware with unmodified versions of Cisco's software. Why should ANY U.S. company or governement entity buy from those friggin self serving cons ??!! They don't play by any global rules or standards, they steal everything...and I mean everything.
  • CyberCrime is a globle problem.

    CyberCrime is a globle problem.So,we'd better protect our important informations together.
  • I expect china just wants an inside man on the good guys team

    would make it a lot easier to hack companies when you already know how they are defending themselves...