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Chinese CERT accuses US of carrying out 3.6 million cyber attacks on its systems

31 Mar 2014

The Chinese Computer Emergency Response Team (CNCERT) has reported linking 30.2 percent of cyber attacks on its networks in 2013 to US sources.

CNCERT reported uncovering the trend in its latest annual threat white paper, confirming a massive 10.9 million Chinese PCs were infected and controlled from outside the Great Firewall last year. Of these, 30.2 per cent of the attacks stemmed from US sources. The figure means the US is responsible for a staggering 3.6 million attacks on Chinese systems.

The Great Firewall is a Chinese government surveillance and censorship program designed to monitor and control what sites its citizens view.

CNCERT said the US hackers' increased interest in China contributed to a 50 percent increase in backdoor attacks on its systems over the past year. Specifically, CNCERT reported 15,000 'hosts' had fallen victim to an unspecified APT Trojan and that 61,000 sites were targeted with backdoor attacks stemming from overseas sources.

The CNCERT's report is the latest in a long line of accusations between the US and Chinese governments. The US government has mounted a steady stream of accusations over the Chinese government sponsoring cyber attacks on American systems, leading White House security advisor Tom Donilon warned China to stop cyber attacks on US businesses in March 2013.

The US government has since been accused of hypocrisy after whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents to the press indicating the National Security Agency (NSA) had mounted a sophisticated PRISM hack campaign against numerous foreign governments.

Outside of state-sponsored hacking, CNCERT's report highlighted detecting a massive growth in the number of malware families targeting Google's Android operating system. CNCERT said it collected 703,000 new mobile samples over the year, 99.5 percent of which were designed to target Android. The figure marks a 3.3 time increase on the mobile malware levels reported by CNCERT in 2012.

CNCERT is one of many institutions to report detecting a marked increase in Android attack levels. Telecoms giant Cisco said Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) is the target of 99 percent of the world's mobile malware earlier in January. Finnish security firm F-Secure reported 97 percent of all mobile malware it found in 2013 was designed to target Android users in its own threat report mere weeks later.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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