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Chinese military Web site target of cyberattacks

A Web site set up by China's Ministry of Defense this summer was hit by more than 230 million hacker attacks in its first month of operation, but none of the attacks were successful.
/ Source: Reuters

A Web site set up by China's Ministry of Defense this summer was hit by more than 230 million hacker attacks in its first month of operation, but none of the attacks were successful, state media reported on Thursday.

The China Daily report could not be independently confirmed. If true, that would equate to more than 5,000 attacks per minute.

Web site editor Ji Guilin told the English-language daily the site had been popular with less malign visitors as well, drawing 1.25 billion visits in the three months since its Aug. 20 launch.

Cyber attacks to steal information or disrupt operations are a growing concern for the world's militaries as technology takes on an ever-increasing role.

The United States said this year it would create a Cyber Command to oversee the U.S. military's efforts to protect its computer networks and operate in cyberspace.

Officials added then that more than 100 foreign intelligence services were trying to hack into U.S. networks, but there were also concerns about terrorist attacks and individual hackers.

China's normally secretive military launched its site, which also has an English version, in a new bid to allay overseas criticism over transparency and the build-up of its armed forces.

The moves come at a time when China has been ramping up investment in its military — the world's largest — to introduce new high-tech weapons. Reported budget spending has grown by double digits in recent years.

But the secrecy of China's political system makes its Asian neighbors and Washington wary about its military intentions.

Its rivals worry that its actual defense expenditure is more than the $70 billion reported for this year, which is dwarfed by the Pentagon's budget of more than $500 billion.

China insists its military modernization threatens no country but it has long threatened to attack Taiwan, which Beijing has claimed sovereignty over since their split in 1949, if the self-ruled democratic island formally declares independence.