State-backed forces and organized crime are the biggest threats to cyber security: Zhou Hongyi
Published: Sep 26, 2021 11:06 PM
2021 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit Photo: CFP

2021 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit Photo: CFP

The continuous activities from state-backed forces and organized crime have become the biggest threat to cyber security, warned Zhou Hongyi, Chairman and CEO of Qihoo 360 Technology Co, during the 2021 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit on Sunday, calling for new digital methods to tackle cyber threats. 

In his address at the summit held in Wuzhan, East China's Zhejiang Province, Zhou said that individual hackers had become a thing of the past as now online attacks are usually made by organized criminal organizations and state-backed forces, which have become the biggest threats to cyber security. 

Not only the targets, methods or damages of cyberattacks are breaking the norms but new forms of strikes to supply chains, installation of ransomware, and locking of industrial control equipment continue to challenge imagination. Cyber threats will surpass traditional security threats and become the biggest hazard in the digital age, Zhou said. 

Data has become a new target of cyberattacks as everything is programmable and interconnected in the digital age. In the future, if data within one company is hacked, it will directly result in the shutdown of the company. It  can be predicted that government management, operations of companies and basic of necessities of people will be built on data and internet, which will raise global vulnerabilities to unprecedented levels, Zhou noted. 

In the past years, the Qihoo 360 Technology has detected 46 APT organizations from overseas which have launched roughly 3,600 attacks on more than 20,000 targets, including China's scientific research and development organs, government institutes and universities. Only in the first half of 2021, 360 attacks were detected from 12 overseas APTs against China,  according to Zhou. 

Last year, Qihoo 360 discovered a series of attacks against China's scientific research institutions, aerospace and petroleum industries, and large internet companies by a hacking organization affiliated with the CIA for over a decade.

"The discovery led 360 to become the only internet company sanctioned by the US," Zhou told reporters in Wuzhen. 

Over the years, some countries and organizations have continued to accuse China of hacking. However, data have showed those allegations are pure slander and old tricks by some countries to tarnish China with cybersecurity issues. 

China firmly opposes and combats cyberattacks and cyber theft in all forms. This position is consistent and clear, Chinese experts said.

To tackle new forms of cyber threats, Zhou called on using digital methods to address threats like cyber security that directly affects security, defense and economy of the country, as well as personal safety. 

With a new generation of cyber threats, it is necessary to develop the capacity to analyze threats, discover vulnerabilities and cyber loopholes, and deploy an offensive-defensive capabilities, he noted.