Biz / Tech

Spam messages and calls kept under control

The good news is that efforts by the  government and others to crack down on spam calls and messages are paying dividends. The bad news is new kinds of threats are appearing.

Spam messages and calls in China were kept under control last year, the country’s top cyber security firm 360 said in a report yesterday.

However, phishing websites and malicious applications leading to information leakage and financial loss remain threats to online users.

New kinds of threats emerged, such as Mining Trojans, which illegally gain access to victims’ computers to obtain Bitcoins for profit. 

Blocked spam message volume was 9.85 billion in 2017, an 85 percent drop from the level of 2012, according to 360. 

The total volume of spam calls was 38.1 billion in 2017, the first drop in the recent years.

Analysts said the improved situation on spam calls was thanks to efforts and special campaigns by government regulators, operators and security firms. China has now made cyber security part of national security. 

Meanwhile, links to phishing websites — often found in online gambling, cyber shopping and finance and securities sites — were commonplace on the Internet. 

Trojan programs like "ransomware" and Mining (for digital coins) continue to spread online. Through Mining Trojans, hackers can secretly control thousands of computers and various devices to obtain Bitcoins and other digital coins.

Victims often find their computers or smartphones work slowly or frequently crash, but they usually can’t fix the problem or find the trojan programs. 

By January, more than 1,200 varieties of Mining Trojans were found online, said 360, which has more than 550 million monthly active users in China.

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