China has finally made it illegal to take control of PCs and use them for criminal activities. This is done with botnets (PCs that are secretly controlled by the criminals). These are primarily owned by criminal organizations. Botnets can be used to spew spam, launch a widespread search for secret files, or shut down websites (with a DOS, or Denial of Service) attack.
China has long been pressured to outlaw many Internet based crimes, and to go after the many Internet criminals operating out of China.
About a quarter of the 4-5 million PCs worldwide, that have been infiltrated by hackers, turned into ‘zombies’ are claimed by the United States to be Chinese. This is possible if not probable. But it is probable the botnets have become big business. Botnets of 100,000 or more PCs are not unusual, and many of them are for rent.
Five years ago, China found its own computers are already overrun with viruses and worms. A government survey found that, in 2003, 87.9% of Chinese PCs connected to the Internet were infected, and most were still infected in 2004.
Strategy Page reports that China is trying to fix this by subsidizing Linux training for Chinese engineers and computer technicians. The government also subsidized the development of the Unix based server software, and desktop versions of Linux that do everything a business needs, but are more secure than Microsoft software.