Something’s afoot over in China in the cybersecurity space. With the world showing no signs of slowing down in terms of the amount of connected devices, it should come as no surprise that providing security against hackers is top of mind for most countries. Through the country’s Cyberspace Administration of China and its education ministry, China has announced news of its plan to build approximately four to six top-notch cybersecurity schools between 2017 and 2027 to do battle against hackers and cybercrime.
What manufacturing and steel jobs used to be in the United States about fifty years ago, cybersecurity jobs will be to China over the course of the next decade. These higher education cybersecurity schools — beyond primary school and comprehensive interdisciplinary degree programs, which combine engineering, legal and management — will help the country train up its citizens on the world of hacking and cyberattacks.
Chinese President Xi Jinping shared that these colleges and universities will receive government resources in order to “invest big money, invite [the] best teachers, compile excellent teaching materials, recruit good students and build first-class cybersecurity schools.”
While this is certainly a forward-thinking concept for the country, many are questioning this move and are alleging that China is instead building up a cyber army. This may be due to the fact that the 2016 report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission determined Chinese spies were able to hack into U.S. national security agencies on multiple occasions, stealing state secrets. These hackers have also been accused of building a “back door” to spy on U.K. businesses.
In addition to the investment plans, through the Cyberspace Administration of China and education ministry, to build out these cybercrime-fighting schools, the country has also unveiled its first cyber court, the Hangzhou Internet Court. In this online court, internet-related cases, such as cyberattacks and hacking incidents, in Alibaba’s headquartered town of Hangzhou will be investigated and tried, including online trade disputes and copyright lawsuits.
With both cybersecurity school programs and its Hangzhou Internet Court, Chinese President Xi Jinping may be setting the pace for the rest of the world when it comes to the future of securing the online arena — despite fears of a cyber army and future national security risks.