'Black guest' menace grows
The authorities cracked 100 cases of computer hacking last year, ranging from mischief to serious crime, it was reported yesterday.
But public security officials estimated the uncovered cases represented just 15 per cent of activity, the International Finance News said.
With the growing use of computers, hacking was increasing at an alarming 30 per cent a year, the paper said.
Ninety-five per cent of China's computer networks linked to foreign ones had fallen prey to attempts by hackers - hei ke or 'black guests' - from inside and outside China.
Banks, financial institutions and securities houses were the main targets, but most cases were not reported for commercial reasons, the paper said.
Most hackers were young people who attacked networks to show off their programming skills. Many escaped arrest as there were no specific laws for prosecuting electronic break-ins.
In one prominent case last year, two brothers who broke into a bank's computer network and stole 260,000 yuan (HK$241,000) were sentenced to death after being convicted of theft.
Accountant Hao Jinglong and his brother, Hao Jingwen, electronically wired non-existent deposits into their accounts and withdrew the money.
In another case, a Web site promoting Beijing's view of human rights was defaced by a foreign hacker outside China who labelled it propaganda.