30% of “malicious” emails were sent from China and that 21.3% came from the city of Shaoxing alone

A city in eastern China has been identified as the world capital of cyber-espionage by an American internet security company.  The firm traced 12 billion emails in a study which showed that a higher number of “targeted attacks” on computers come from China than previously thought.


Researchers for Symantec found almost 30% of “malicious” emails were sent from China and that 21.3% came from the city of Shaoxing alone. They were able to identify key targets for the hackers as experts in Asian defence policy and human rights activists, strongly suggesting state involvement.

Symantec is assisting the investigation into suspected hacking attacks on Google, which closed its website in China last week rather than censor itself on behalf of the ministry of state security.

Cyber-espionage uses emails sent in small volumes with legitimate-looking attachments or documents to fool the user into letting a malicious code infect their computer. “The ultimate aim … is to gain access to sensitive data or internal systems by targeting specific individuals or companies,” the report said.

Symantec succeeded in tracing individual computer registration numbers, known as IPs, to find the true source of the attacks. Previously, hackers in China had been able to camouflage themselves behind servers in Taiwan.

The findings show China was the source of 28.2% of global targeted attacks. It was followed by Romania, with 21.1%, presumed to be mostly attempts at commercial fraud. The United States came third, followed by Taiwan and then Britain, with 12% of attacks.

Via Times Online