Last updated: February 12, 2010 - 9:41am
While much of the rest of the world frets about Chinese cyberspying abroad, China is increasingly alarmed about the threat that the Internet poses to its security and political stability.
In the view of both political analysts and technology experts here and in the United States, China's attempts to tighten its grip on Internet use are driven in part by the conviction that the West -- and particularly the United States -- is wielding communications innovations from malware to Twitter to weaken it militarily and to stir dissent internally.
State media have vented those concerns more vociferously since Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last month criticized China for censorship and called for an investigation of Google's assertion that its databases had been the target of a sophisticated attack from China. "China wants to make clear that it too is under serious attack from spies on the Internet," said Cheng Gang, author of the Global Times article.
Despite China's robust technological abilities, its cyberdefenses are almost certainly more porous than those of the United States, American experts say. To cite one glaring example, even Chinese government computers are frequently equipped with pirated software from Microsoft, they say. That means many users miss out on security upgrades, available to paying users, that fix security breaches exploited by hackers.
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