After being accused two weeks ago by Google of perpetrating cyber attacks on two personal gmail accounts and at least 20 corporate companies, China is now lashing out at the United States and calling itself the “biggest victim.”
In an interview over the weekend, Zhou Yonglin, a senior Chinese official in charge of internet security, rejected accusations that the cyber attacks originated from China and simultaneously accused the US of being the world’s most fertile breeding ground for hackers.
According to the China Daily:
Last year, 262,000 IP addresses in China were hit by trojans planted by nearly 165,000 overseas IP addresses.
“Those from the US ranked first, accounting for 16.61 percent,” Zhou said.
China had the most zombie program-infected computers in 2008, accounting for 13 percent of the worldwide total, with IP addresses in the US accounting for the highest number of hackers.
Just so you know, the above statistics were published in an April 2009 report from Symantec, the largest maker of internet security software in the world, founded and headquartered in the Sunshine State itself, California, in the good ol’ U.S of A.
China also responded to Hillary Clinton’s speech claiming that the United States would make internet freedom a top foreign policy priority, with People’s Daily pubishing a short, scathing article on America’s supposed use of the internet to incite subversion around the world. The article specifically mentions Iran, but the underlying message is not too hard to discern.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The brief People’s Daily article, which carried the byline Wang Xiaoyang, charged that the U.S. developed the concept of cyber warfare and that it had used the Internet to foment unrest in Iran. “It was America that initiated Internet warfare, using YouTube videos and Twitter micro-blog misinformation to split, incite, and sow discord between the conservative and reform factions…to bring about large-scale bloodshed in Iran,” the article said.
The article ridiculed the U.S. call for Internet freedom as a double standard. “Is having no limits definitely the best and the freest way?” it said. “Could Google use so-called freedom as an excuse to disobey U.S. law? Could a Chinese company operating in the U.S. disobey U.S. law?”
The latest jab comes after yet another attack on Baidu: the China Post reports that Baidu was linking to pornographic websites in their search results as of Friday afternoon. While Baidu has yet to confirm whether the “malfunction” was actually due to a security breach, we think it sounds too suspicious to be a software error.
It seems the international pressure and ongoing attacks have only catalyzed China’s efforts to censor the internet. In fact, China seems even more obstinate about their right to censorship than before:
In the latest volley, a spokesperson for China’s State Council Information Office said the country “bans using the Internet to subvert state power and wreck national unity, to incite ethnic hatred and division, to promote cults and to distribute content that is pornographic, salacious, violent or terrorist”.
“China has an ample legal basis for punishing such harmful content, and there is no room for doubting this. This is completely different from so-called restriction of Internet freedom,” the spokesperson added.
First the nasty aggressor and now the hapless victim, what’s to be believed? One thing is certain – with China refusing to budge on its internet control policy, this fiasco is sure to have some life left.
Additional reporting by Cary Hooper