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China sets up a specialised 'Online Blue Army'

Chinese military has set up "Online Blue Army", a dedicated web network aimed to beef up internet security of its defence installations from cyber attacks.

BEIJING (PTI): Chinese military has set up "Online Blue Army", a dedicated web network aimed to beef up internet security of its defence installations from cyber attacks.

The "Online Blue Army" is based on the People's Liberation Army, (PLA) needs and enforcing the ability of Internet security protection is an important issue in its military training programmes, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said.

Geng's comments came in response to questions if the "Online Blue Army" is China's Internet squad aimed at carrying out attacks on other countries' Internet systems, state run People’s Daily reported. Geng said his country will not carry out cyber wars.

The PLA Daily had reported PLA's Guangzhou command had invested tens of millions of yuan in building the specialized Internet squad.

Geng said Internet security has become an international concern which affects not only the society but the military sector, adding that China, armed with comparatively lax online security protection is among the victims of Internet attacks.

The Daily said internationally, online military units have long been established. The United States destroyed Iraq's air defence system using PC viruses during the Gulf War in 1991. Thereafter, the online army of the United States also played major roles in the wars in Kosovo and Iraq.

In addition to the United States, UK, Russia, Japan and India have established their online military units, People’s Daily report said.

Li Li, a military expert at the National Defence University, said that compared with online military units of Western countries, China's "Online Blue Army" is currently at its fledging period, and is more like an online manoeuvre mode than an organic, large-scale online army.

Zhang Shaozhong, a military expert and a professor from the PLA National Defence University, pointed out that though China's dependence on the Internet is increasing, the root servers are not based in China.

In addition, various types of Internet hardware in China are made in the United States, including many types of software.

In this sense, China is only a computer "user," and China's Internet security is very fragile, he said.

"Just like the army and air forces, the 'online blue army' is a historical necessity. The reason is very simple.

"We must adapt to the new types of warfare in the information era. The 'online blue army' is of great strategic significance to China's economic development and social stability," Teng Jianqun, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said.

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