Cybersecurity remains a big challenge for China, especially for mobile devices, even though the country has made progress in fighting online threats over the past few years, a network security official said.
“Malware, which affects mobile devices more frequently than personal computers, is seriously damaging the security of netizens’ personal information and property,” said Yun Xiaochun, deputy director of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team and Coordination Center of China.
He made the remark at the center’s annual conference in Beijing on Aug 15. The center said it had identified 1.48 million malicious mobile applications from January to June, up 23.4 percent year-on-year.
The number has grown rapidly in the last five years, said Yun, who is also the center’s chief engineer.
Some netizens have been compelled to read advertisements or set a certain website as the home page when downloading such apps. More serious cases involve the theft of money from online accounts or personal data, according to a report of the center.
Last year, the center worked with 92 online platforms that provide mobile apps and helped them remove 8,364 malicious apps from their stores, it said.
Under the country’s increasing efforts and public awareness of the need to safeguard digital information, the number of personal computers controlled or affected by malware has seen a decline since 2015, the report said.
A total of 12.5 million PCs were controlled or affected by malware last year, down 26.1 percent year-on-year, it said, adding that the threats mainly originated from malicious programs overseas, including the United States and Russia.
Meanwhile, the number of government department websites that were invaded through “back door” attacks also decreased after the center carried out campaigns to improve those entities’ security, it said.
Yun applauded the achievements, but he said security risks in some new industries, such as artificial intelligence and data collection, should be given more attention.
In addition, the public must be alerted to fraudsters taking advantage of apps or quick response codes and pretending to be judicial officials, he added.
Zhou Hongyi, chairman of Qihoo 360, a major provider of security software, suggested the country should invest more money and labor in the cybersecurity industry.
“When the industry becomes stronger, we’ll be more powerful in combating cyberattacks and safeguarding national security,” he said.
The center’s annual conference began in Beijing on Aug 14 and will end on Aug 16.