Feeds

China cuffs 905 suspects in online black market purge

8,000 emporiums eradicated

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Chinese authorities have gone on yet another web crackdown, shutting close to 8,000 websites, although this time the target appears to have been genuine criminal ventures rather than sites spouting politically incorrect sentiments or peddling smut.

State-run news agency Xinhua reported that 7,846 sites were axed by the Ministry of Public Security after being involved in “illegal commercial activity”. A further 1m+ posts were deleted and over 1,000 websites were reprimanded as part of the campaign against online black markets.

A whopping 905 suspects were nabbed and a grand total of 53 criminal gangs were effectively eliminated, the report continued. Not bad for a day’s work.

The crackdown was actually the culmination of a three-month operation, with popular sites including online forum Tianya, web portal Sohu and online community site Baidu Tieba all implicated, according to Penn Olson.

Such sites have become increasingly popular among cyber-criminals looking for ways to anonymously buy and sell black market goods - everything from weapons and explosives to phone tapping devices and illegally obtained personal information.

The trio weren’t shut down, but given a warning and told to monitor the content on their pages more closely in future, the report explained.

However, one never knows when it comes to official statements from the Chinese government or one of its propaganda-peddling news wires as to whether such operations are genuinely launched to clamp down on cybercrime or if there is an ulterior motive.

Penn Olson reports that the police were also looking for “illegal harmful information that seriously harms the stability of society”, which to all intents and purposes means information that would be otherwise be censored in the People’s Republic.

The Chinese authorities always lump the euphemistically described “harmful content” in with things like online fraud and pornography when they go on their periodic web-purging missions.

The reign of president Hu Jintao has ramped up online censorship in the country with a renewed vigour. Close to half of all Chinese websites were shut down in 2010, for example, according to a study by a leading think tank.

Meanwhile, last November, the government forced 40 of China’s biggest tech firms to practise greater self-censorship, partly in a bid to quell the growing noise coming from micro-blogging and social media sites like the hugely popular Sina Weibo.

The companies themselves, of course, have little choice but to comply. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.