China’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CNCERT) has claimed in a new report that backdoor attacks on systems jumped by over 50 per cent over the past year, and once again fingered the US as the main culprit in 2013.
The CERT announced the findings of its latest annual report on its website.
It claimed that 15,000 "hosts" taken over by "APT Trojan", while 61,000 sites were hit by backdoor attacks launched from overseas in 2013, a rise of 62 per cent.
In total, 10.9 million Chinese PCs were infected and controlled from outside the Great Firewall last year with the US accounting for 30.2 per cent of attacks. South Korea and Hong Kong were also named as common attack sources.
The narrative is consistent with previous annual reports – that China is a victim not a perpetrator of cyber attacks – and as such the stats may well have been massaged by the Party’s propaganda office.
They also fail to mention the difficulty of attribution when it comes to attacks launched abroad – ie whether they actually originated Stateside or were merely routed through US machines.
Akamai’s most recent State of the Internet report, for example, claims the top two countries by attack source are China (35 per cent) and Indonesia (20 per cent), with the US some way behind in third with 11 per cent.
That said, if the Snowden leaks can be believed, the US is doing itself no favours in the battle against China for the moral high ground.
The latest revelations claimed the NSA had spied on Huawei with the aim of installing backdoors on its products.
The CNCERT report also claimed that hardware and software vulnerabilities in networking kit had risen 1.5 times since 2012, while the volume of phishing pages discovered jumped 35.4 per per cent.
It also bemoaned an “explosive” growth in mobile malware, with 703,000 new samples found last year, 3.3 times more than in 2012 and with most (99.5 per cent) on the Android platform.
Government sites are a “disaster area”, the CERT warned, with Anonymous alone blamed for attacks on 600 of them, including one targeted at the People’s Bank of China.
The central bank’s site and weibo page were taken out of action for a time in December in what appeared to be a revenge attack after it introduced tough new restrictions on Bitcoin. ®