China says it’s a big cybercrime victim too

Well, doesn’t your heart just bleed. China’s claiming that, last year, it was the victim of nearly half a million cyberattacks.

According to state news service Xinhua, the greatest proportion of the attacks – 15 percent – were traced to IP addresses in the US. Around eight percent came from India, and a little over half from China itself.

This doesn’t, of course, mean the attacks actually originated in these countries as proxy servers could have been used.

The most common type of attack was Trojan malware, the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Center of China (CNCERT) said.

As many as 10 percent of the country’s 45,000-odd government websites were hit. According to the report, many attacks were politically or religiously motivated. Nearly 35,000 web pages were attacked by hackers in 2010 – a 67.6 percent increase on 2009.

The CNCERT also says it detected 13,782 IPs with botnet viruses during 2010, of which 6,531 originated in foreign counties. The top three, it says, were the US with 21.7 percent, India with 7.2 percent and Turkey with 5.7 percent.

The report comes just a week after security firm McAfee claimed to have found evidence that a single country may have hit 72 targets including governments and major companies. The country wasn’t named, but was widely supposed to be China.

Official government media within China described the accusation as ‘irresponsible’.