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Chinese cybersecurity tightening in wake of recent attacks

Chinese cybersecurity tightening in wake of recent attacks

Chinese cybersecurity tightening in wake of recent attacks

BEIJING – This week China’s Finance Ministry has introduced a draft of measures for additional cybersecurity with regards to auditors working on matters of national security.

The draft, which became public on Nov. 10, additionally introduced guidance in how accounting firms should manage data related to Chinese firms, according to Reuters, which originally reported the story. It's part of a years-long effort by the Chinese government to crack down on data security, particularly from domestic firms or those doing cross-border work.

This insular approach to security is nothing new for the country but may have been accelerated by recent inciting incidents. Last week the U.S. branch of China’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), was struck by a ransomware attack courtesy of the LockBit ransomware group. Claiming to be an apolitical organization based in the Netherlands, LockBit has risen to become a major ransomware player in recent years, and prior to the ICBC incident made headlines when they stole multiple gigs worth of data from Boeing. This week the group leaked 43 gigs of data from Boeing for failing to pay the ransom. A representative from LockBit confirmed that the ICBC has paid its ransom.

Prior rules issued in May instructed state-owned companies to strengthen checks on the abilities of accountants to manage information security, and now the government in Beijing has been asking state-owned firms to stop using the largest global accounting firms.

The currently released draft rules were noted for being open to public consultation until December 11, 2023.


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