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China Voice: Cyber security should avoid becoming Achilles' heel

BEIJING, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- As Internet firms propel Chinese business to the next stage, cyber security must become a top priority to prevent a potential achilles heel for rapid industrial development.

China's Cyber Security Week, the first event of its kind, began in Beijing on Monday.

Jointly held by top state level departments, including the ministries of industry and information technology, education and public security, the event intends to help the public better understand Internet security risks and enhance their protective skills.

Since China connected to World Wide Web in 1994, the Internet has profoundly changed the country's way of life and business. Meanwhile, Internet security poses great challenges to national security, economy, social stability and public interests.

China has the world's largest number of Internet users but it still lags behind in development of Internet technologies. The country had about 632 million Internet users, half of the country's population, as of June 2014, with Internet companies' total market value topping 300 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Four of the world's top 10 Internet companies by market value are in China: Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and Jingdong.

However, the country is increasingly the victim of Internet hackers and cyber-terrorism, with cases plotted, organized and instigated online, in recent years.

Cyber security not only refers to safety of computers, servers and Internet contents nowadays, but it has also extended to Internet finance such as the security of mobile payment.

Low public awareness has caused great loss to finance and personal property. Last year, 11.35 million computers in the Chinese mainland were infected by Trojan horse viruses. Nearly 32 percent of 332 million Chinese users of mobile payment have been attacked by phishing and other online scam attempts, with losses increasing four fold in 2014 compared with last year.

Public participation is a key trait of Internet era, so safeguarding Internet security requires active public involvement.

The weeklong public event will host a series of shows and lectures nationwide to popularize cyber security tips and protective skills, by creating scenarios of computer virus attacks and debit card frauds in which unauthorized purchases are made, cash withdrawn from one's account, and personal information stolen, at interactive exhibitions.

Such events are also common in the West. The European Cyber Security Month has been held every October since 2013. The United States launched a similar program to encourage public participation in 2004.

In a message of congratulations sent to the First World Internet Conference held last week in Wuzhen, eastern Zhejiang Province, President Xi Jinping urged better international cooperation, more respect for sovereignty on the Internet and for countries to uphold cyber security following the principle of mutual respect and mutual trust.

Xi, who also heads the central Internet security and informatization leading group, told a meeting in February that "cyberspace should be made clean and chipper" and "no Internet safety means no national security."

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