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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

China's large online population increasingly targeted by cyber-criminals

Wednesday 2 September 2015 | 11:22 AM CET

China’s large internet user population has created opportunities for cyber-criminals, with online fraud cases surging over 30% between 2011 and 2014, a recent report unveils.

According to data from the China Internet Network Information Center, the country’s online population reached 668 million in June, offering a big pool of targets for cyber criminals.

The number of fraud cases surged from 100,000 in 2011 to 400,000 in 2014, and the financial losses caused by online fraud in 2014 were estimated at over 10 billion yuan (USD 1.57 billion), according to the Ministry of Public Security.

According to a report conducted by Tencent, cyber criminals are also increasingly targeting mobile phone users, and nearly 200 million phones have been hit by malicious software. The growing attacks on online databases have allowed fraudsters to acquire personal information that helps them target and reach victims more easily.

A Legal Daily study also shows that there is a group of people who work upstream, creating and selling fake online accounts and identities. Since the law does not clearly state that creating and selling fake online accounts is illegal, hundreds of thousands of people work in this gray area.

Fake accounts can be sold for a few yuan and cover major online services in China, including ecommerce websites Alibaba and, social networking services offered by Sina and Tencent, game websites and even the ride-hailing app Uber.

Other criminal activities include conducting fake online marketing or recruitment campaigns to collect user data, sending fraudulent offers through ecommerce websites and stealing traffic from other websites.


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