Beijing (AsiaNews) - China
is the most dangerous hacker in the world, the worst threat to Internet freedom.
Its government backs cybercrimes for economic and political advantages, this
according to Eric Schmidt. Not any ordinary dissident, Google Chairman brands China in his upcoming book, The New Digital Age, as "the world's
most active and enthusiastic filterer of information" and "the most
sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies. Despite the
mounting evidence, China's Communist authorities reject the charges.
China is widely
believed to be the source of major cyber attacks that occurred between 2006 and
2011 against 72 organisations, including the International Olympic Committee,
the United Nations and security firms, the Google
In 2011, Google said hackers based in Jinan
province compromised personal and mail accounts of hundreds of top US
officials, military personnel and journalists.
South Korea blamed
Chinese hackers for stealing data from 35 million accounts on a popular social
network in July last year.
The latest charges
involve attacks against major US newspapers, including the New York Times
and the Washington Post, after they published articles on the wealth of Chinese
leaders, like the next president, Xi Jinping, as well as outgoing premier, Wen
Jiabao. The latter is accused of using his position to enrich his family.
Schmidt's attack has
prompted a quick response. "America keeps labelling China as hackers, simply
playing up the rhetoric of the 'China threat' in cyberspace, providing new
justification for America's strategy of containing China," the People's
Daily wrote. Yet, "Even those with little understanding of the internet
know that hacking attacks are transnational and concealable,"
In the book however,
set for release in April, Schmidt is quoted as saying, "The disparity between
American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and
the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage." In fact, Washington
"will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws
are much stricter (and better enforced)".
The book goes further,
suggesting that Western governments do more to follow China's lead and develop
stronger relationships between the state and technology companies.
This is a veiled
reference to Huawei, China's giant telecommunications equipment maker, which is
thought to work closely with Chinese authorities.