Chinese New Year and Future Predictions on Cybersecurity

We have now entered the Year of the Goat or the Sheep in China and this is the beginning of a new, even stricter era for the Chinese Government. According to predictions, the future will hold even tighter restrictions and the new situation formed for the citizens concerning their cyberspace will become even more evident than they are now.

Although it is time to celebrate with lanterns and wishes for the best, there is no actual time for us (the security gladiators – people who truly care about security online) to remain idle and simply watch the changes unveiled before our eyes. So, it is time we took a step back and looked at what has already happened in China and what is about to occur within 2015.

In order to react effectively and take the necessary precautions, education is the key to success and therefore we ought to obtain spherical knowledge of what lies beneath the recent decisions, legislation and stricter applications of the Great Firewall of China. Be prepared through the proper interpretation of the past and the present, don’t you agree?

Predictions in Cybersecurity for China

There is a tendency that is most likely to get worse, leaning towards much stricter legislation and restrictions that do not allow Chinese citizens to take full advantage of the potential benefits of the Internet. Let’s have a look at these predictions based on the recent events, shall we?

  • Much Stricter Rules for Online Communication: As it has turned out, the Chinese Government is applying a new rule that suggests everyone should use their real names online. This will become effective in March and is expected to cause grave problems and irreparable damage to the anonymity of Internet users in China. Not all Chinese are in favour of such legislation, as it could get really ugly. After all, the Internet is meant to offer true and absolute freedom and this should never come with the price of sharing your true identity on the web. This can in turn lead to an increase of VPN users in China or people who are in need of a means that will allow them to surf the Internet anonymously (for instance, Tor and Proxies).
  • VPN Targeted by the Great Firewall: It is no surprise that there is a huge number of Chinese citizens who have found shelter and remedy in the use of VPN. According to the recent survey of GlobalWebIndex, over 20 million Chinese have already used the specific service for accessing Netflix and this is just a fragment of the total use of VPN in China. As a result of the growing increase in the demand of VPN, the Government has been strengthening its firewall and will continue on doing so in 2015. VPN service providers are well aware of the hostile environment that has evolved in the field of cybersecurity within China and have been trying to come up with more solid services and better performance options.
  • Arrests of Online Activists: It has been made quite frequent for the online activists and people who advocate in favor of free speech to become targets in China. The Government cannot deal with polyphony and supporting online freedom could shake the grounds of the Golden Shield Project altogether. So, in 2015 it is certain that more arrests will follow. The examples of Gao Yu and Guo Feixiong are just drops in the ocean of the arrests that will more than likely occur in the Chinese New Year – 2015.
  • Censorship on the US Visit of President Xi: As the title suggests, President Xi Jinping is rumored to visit the US in September. In the light of this significant event, heavy censorship is considered the basic defensive line followed by the Chinese government. This visit can trigger protests and other acts of defending online freedom and this is something that the Government does not wish to see happening.
  • Hong Kong Turbulence and Attacks: Hong Kong has been accused of holding an anti-government position when it comes to cybersecurity. In 2015, there is great likelihood that Hong Kong will become a troubled place with cyberattacks and disputes over the issue of online freedom. Media freedom in Hong Kong has been minimized and will go on in this direction over the year that we have just entered in China.
  • Efforts to Curb Public Opinion: We always have highlighted how important education is towards learning more on how valuable online freedom actually is. The Chinese Government has acknowledged such an importance and this is why there seems to be an effort pulled through towards educating the Chinese Government on the need of cyber restrictions. You can see here how the Chinese have been trying to focus on the quality of the Internet experience that they offer to their citizens and this is definitely a bet that they are craving to win in the long run.

As you can see, things are quite tensed and the predictions about cybersecurity in China are not that optimistic. If you live in China or you are planning to visit the country in the future, you are encouraged to read through the information on its extent of surveillance and censorship. We wish you all a Happy New Year in China and we hope that 2015 becomes a beam of hope, despite the predictions proving the exact opposite…

What’s your prediction by the way? Please let us (and other readers) know it by commenting below.

Top/Featured Image: By Antranias under CC0 Public Domain License, via Pixabay

Ali Qamar Ali is an Internet security research enthusiast who enjoys "deep" research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best.
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