The country is taking a serious stance in the fight against cybercrime as it continues to pursue regulation over the Internet.
Chinese police arrested 15,000 people for allegedly committing cybercrimes, which came as a result of the investigations of more than 7,400 cases involving offenses such as hacking, online fraud and the illegal sale of personal information, the Associated Press reported late last week.
Many of the investigations were a part of the country’s recent launch of a six-month special operation to wipe out Internet-related criminal activity, also known as “cleaning the Internet.”
The Ministry of Public Security said the initiative has been able to target those accused of illegally accessing the websites of companies, banks and government agencies.
Cybersecurity remains a top priority for Chinese officials, who last month released a draft law aimed at strengthening the country’s ability to fight cyberthreats and protect the data of Chinese users.
The law permits Chinese authorities to cut off Internet access during any public security emergencies and also allows agencies to implement cybersecurity monitoring and alert systems, as well as emergency response measures.
“The Chinese have gotten increasingly worried that they do not have the right kind of regulations, protections and responses in place,” Adam Segal, a China and cybersecurity scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Wall Street Journal back in July. “There is a real sense that there needed to be some type of regulatory response to potential attacks.”
The government also announced plans to step up its national cybersecurity by setting up police units at the major Internet companies to avert fraud, crimes and rumors, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported earlier this month.
While the Ministry of Public Security didn’t specify the companies it would be working with for setting up cyberpolice units, it did say that the move was directed at improving the national security and social stability of Chinese nationals who are quick to fall victim to “cyberattack[s], Internet fraud and personal information leakage.”
The new policy measures may also help China in steering clear of any cyberfraud accusations from foreign governments. In recent years, the Chinese government has been accused by several countries for being too lackadaisical in controlling cyberattacks originating from China.
The massive cyberattacks on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that ultimately compromised over 21 million Social Security numbers, 19.7 million forms with data and 1.1 million fingerprint records has consistently been blamed on Chinese hackers.