Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Chinese Virus Crises Mean Trouble for U.S.

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China is being hammered by viruses, and one security analysts says the trouble over there is

causing trouble for U.S. networks.

A survey conducted by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security shows that approximately 85

percent of computers in the country have been infected with a virus this year. That number

is up 25 percent from 2001. And as many as a third of China’s computers may have been hit by

the Sobig-F worm, which struck this past August.

But that’s not just a problem for the Chinese. Chris Belthoff, a senior security analyst

with Lynnfield, Mass.-based Sophos, Inc., an anti-virus company, says any major virus

infestation in a country as wired as China means that problem will travel to U.S. corporate


”Computer viruses are like true biological viruses,” says Belthoff. ”You may have a

strong pocket of high infection somewhere in the world and the likelihood of it spread is

really high now because we’re all so interconnected. If one area of the world isn’t so

security aware, it will cause problems for the rest of the world, as well.

”In the end, it’s going to make everybody suffer,” he adds.

Belthoff also says that since Sobig-F hit China so hard, it most likely helped spread the

virus here in the U.S. and in Europe.

”We don’t know for sure but it’s certainly possible,” says Belthoff. ”Remember, the

nature of Sobig is that it’s a mass-mailing worm, so if it infects a system it sends a copy

out to every address on that system. And if you have a million machines infected in China,

odds are you’re going to have machines with U.S. or European addresses on them, and it will

get here. We don’t have hard evidence but certainly, the conclusion is that it contributed

to the spread of something like Sobig.”

Belthoff also adds that China is being hit so hard because users there are still fairly new

to the Internet and haven’t been as educated about the hazards of viruses, worms, trojans

and hoaxes.

”You think our problems are bad in this country and Europe, but viruses in China are

rampant,” he notes. ”The Chinese are just coming up to speed with the downside of the

Internet. They have a high-tech corridor that makes Silicon Valley pale in comparison, but

their growth rate for Internet access has just been exploding. The bulk of the people

getting on aren’t Internet savvy yet.”

According to figures from the Chinese government, there are more than 68 million Web surfers


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