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Across China, Guangdong province suffered the most cyberattacks, with Beijing and Shandong coming in second and third respectively, according to a report from a Chinese antivirus software developer.
Between January and June, Guangdong, China’s most populous province, suffered more than 4.55 million attacks from phishing websites, said the report released by Rising last week.
The spoof sites lured users to click on a link that led to a seemingly legitimate website and stole their private information.
Beijing and Shandong province came in the second- and third-most-attacked regions targeted by the phishing sites that Rising tracked.
The type of phishing sites Chinese people fell victim to varied by the region, however.
For instance, most of the phishing victims in Guangdong and Beijing were tricked to gambling sites, while 90 per cent of victims in Heilongjiang province were lured into pornography-related websites.
Separately, China generated more than four million malicious URLs that led internet users to such spoof sites in the first six months of the year, according to the Rising report.
Half of these malicious URLs originated from Tianjin, followed by Beijing and Hong Kong, the report said.
Rising said it blocked a total of 68 million such URLs globally in the same period, half of which were from the United States.
“A large part of the world’s internet bandwidths are in the US and China, so it’s not too surprising to me that many hacking attempts are from these two countries,” Hong Kong-based security analyst Michael Gazeley said.
The extent of hacking attempts could also be related to bandwidth speed and capacity as well as efforts to improve cybersecurity in different cities across China, Gazeley said.
A more alarming and also one of the most lucrative hacking methods was through ransomware, which often came through spoof emails as attachments, he said.
“Once executed, the ransomware encrypts all kinds of files in your computer and hackers will demand a ransom from you,” Gazeley said. “This is very different from the old days, when hackers hack a computer and delete its software – that’s a bit like juvenile vandalism.”
According to the Rising report, Anhui province suffered the most ransomware attacks – almost 500,000 such incidents in the first half of the year, followed by Guangdong, Zhejiang and Beijing.
Cyberattacks on mobile devices are also on the rise. The number of mobile viruses that Rising tracked for the report grew over 155 per cent from January to June.
Ninety per cent of China’s 688 million internet users go online using smartphones.
An average of 679,000 Chinese people have their Android mobile devices infected by malware each day, according to Qihoo 360’s latest quarterly mobile security report. Qihoo 360 holds the largest market share among all of China’s antivirus software developers.
Other major security threats on mobile devices include phishing sites, harassment calls and spam text messages. Guangdong was also the province most vulnerable to mobile attacks, according to Qihoo 360.