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China preparing to ramp up cyberespionage?

And, says Finjan, the business internet security specialist, now is the time for companies to start increasing their IT security defences to stop them falling victim to what appears to be a rash of impending cyberespionage from the Far East.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Finjan's CTO, said that a number of cyberattacks and hacker incursions originated from China have been implicated into Western IT systems in recent years.

"Obviously it's hard to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the government there is involved in these attacks, however according to the report it's quite likely that government is active in this domain", he said.

"It's against this backdrop that we've been conducting investigations into Chinese attacks on Western public and private-sector IT systems for some time", he added.

According to Ben-Itzhak, Finjan's malicious code research centre staff conducted an in-depth study into the rising volume of cyberattacks emanating from China and reported that there were some very sophisticated cyberattacks taking place.

In the 2007 security and hacker attack methodology study, researchers found at least one set of attacks coming from a server group that belongs to a Chinese government office.

The secuity study noted that some sites in the network led to trojan sites that exploit the users' web browser software by downloading the trojan and installing it on the user desktop.

Once the users' PC has been infected, Finjan said that the trojan malware then starts to send data to other websites on the internet-connected network.

Additional sites in the network, meanwhile, were found to monitor and control the attack using statistics as to how many users visit the site and how many got infected with malware.

"And that was two years ago, so you can imagine that the Chinese hacker attack groups - regardless of who they are affiliated to - have increased in their level of technology sophistication, so this report serves as a clear warning to companies of the need to review and enhance their IT security defences", Ben-Itzhak said.

"Tools and products to fights against the increasing cybercrime from China are available for businesses and individuals", he added.

"The reason many businesses are becoming victims to these attacks is the lack of knowledge and the false believe that their existing firewalls and anti-virus can do the job for them."

"Although that was the case five to 10 years ago, since cybercriminals introduced new attack techniques firewall and anti-virus are not enough to stop today's cyberattacks."

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