China said Tuesday it was hit by nearly 500,000 cyberattacks last year, about half of which originated from foreign countries including the United States and India.
The news comes just days after US firm McAfee said it had uncovered a massive global cyber spying campaign it described as a “five-year targeted operation” by one unnamed actor — which many analysts said was China.
According to a government report, most of the attacks on China came in the form of Trojan software — a malicious programme that masquerades as an application — the official Xinhua news agency said.
Nearly 15 percent of the destructive programmes came from IP addresses in the United States, while another eight percent originated in India, said the report by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Centre.
China, which has the world’s largest online population with 485 million users, has itself been accused of spearheading online attacks on government agencies and companies, although Beijing has always denied this.
Chinese state media lambasted claims that China was behind the sophisticated hacking effort uncovered by McAfee, calling them “irresponsible”.
According to the US computer security firm, victims of the attack included the governments of Canada, India, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States and Vietnam.
In June, Internet giant Google said a cyber-spying campaign originating in China had targeted Gmail accounts of senior US officials, military personnel, journalists and Chinese political activists.
The computers of Australia’s prime minister, foreign and defence ministers were also suspected of being hacked in March, with China under suspicion.