China is planning its “biggest ever” cybersecurity education campaign in hopes of keeping the public away from online fraud and hackers, an Internet watchdog said on May 12.
The weeklong initiative－scheduled for the first week of June－will mainly target young netizens who are heavy Internet users but have little knowledge of safety, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China, a key organizer of the event.
“It will be the biggest Internet safety campaign the country has ever seen,” said Yang Chunyan, deputy director of the cybersecurity bureau at the administration. The Public Security Ministry, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and eight other organizations will co-host the event.
“Young people born after 1990 will be a major pillar of Chinese Internet in the future, and the strongest power to guard cybersafety.”
A third of the nation’s 650 million netizens are younger than 30, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.
Young people are frequent users of online shopping and financial services, making them more vulnerable to malicious Web attacks.
Yang said the younger generation is also more likely to teach seniors in their family how to protect their privacy online, allowing the initiative to benefit more people.
China’s Internet vulnerabilities are starting to affect people’s daily lives. More than 40 percent of Chinese netizens described the country’s Internet service as “not safe”, according to a CNNIC survey released earlier this year.
The basic Internet infrastructure in China is an easy target for hackers, said Shen Yi, an Internet affairs professor at Fudan University.
“The country should pay more attention to upgrading the anti-hacking system protecting infrastructure. It is not easy to build a 360-degree bulletproof protection in every country, but we should have done a better job,” he said.
The mobile Internet has become an Achilles heel for Chinese cybersociety. The number of threats targeting the less-protected sector is seeing a surge as more than 230 million people shop via smartphones, the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team and Coordination Center warned last month.
Malicious apps designed to charge service fees without acknowledging users are the paramount threats, according to the center.