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China warns of massive hack attacks

Chinese kids in front of computer
Number of Chinese Internet users doubles every six months  

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Loggerheads

Politically-motivated cyber war

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HONG KONG, China -- China is staging a 24-hour nationwide Internet security surveillance as a Sino-U.S. cyber war intensifies.

China's National Computer Network and Information Security Administration Center has issued a warning to all computer system administrators to watch out for major cyber assaults, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The chief of the center in Beijing was quoted as saying that hundreds of Chinese websites have been hacked into in April, with more than 100 attacks per day.

The cyber war between China and the U.S. erupted after a U.S. Navy spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet over international waters in the South China Sea on April 1.

Loggerheads

China and the U.S. have been at loggerheads since China held crewmembers of the U.S. EP-3E plane that made an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan.

Chinese hackers declared a week-long May Day war on U.S. sites, starting on the night of April 30 through China's national Labor Day holiday.

The self-claimed patriotic hackers call themselves 'honkers', which in Mandarin sounds like 'red guest', as 'hacker' literally means 'black guest'.

Last week, the National Infrastructure Protection Center under the FBI issued a statement warning of the Chinese cyber offensive.

Over the weekend, the Chinese hacked into the U.S. labor and health department networks and posted messages such as "Beat down American imperialists" and eulogies and pictures of pilot Wang Wei, who was killed in the spy plane collision.

In retaliation, a few U.S. hacker groups such as 'hackweiser', 'Poizonbox' and 'Prophet' defaced hundreds of Chinese government and commercial websites with pornographic images and messages advocating drug abuse.

Politically-motivated cyber war

Attrition.org, a non-profit Internet security website, hosts a daily list of defaced websites, and has seen a sharp increase in government and commercial sites in China and the U.S.

Jeff Moss, CEO of Black Hat Briefings, a Seattle-based Internet security firm, said a politically-motivated cyber war is nothing new and likened such two-way hacking attacks to sport.

Chinese Internet security experts say the cyber war is likely to intensify on Friday, China's Youth Day marking the 82nd anniversary of the May Fourth Movement and symbolizing patriotism of the young Chinese in their protest against foreign invaders.

Chinabyte.com, a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and People's Daily, China's communist party propaganda newspaper, reported that the cyber war had escalated into a defense competition of firewalls.

It reported that 95 per cent of Chinese websites have not installed firewalls and the Guangdong province recently held an emergency meeting about cyber defense.

Zhu Lilan, Minister of Science and Technology reportedly said: "People say the moon is rounder than the one in China. I can say Chinese firewalls are harder than those foreign ones."



RELATED STORIES:
U.S., Chinese hackers continue Web defacements
May 2, 2001
Feature: Chinese hackers ready for U.S. cyber war
April 29, 2001

RELATED SITES:
Xinhua News Agency
Honkers Union of China
China Eagles
China CERT Center
Shenzhen Anluo S&T Inc.
Black Hat Briefings
Chinabyte.com

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