Is it safe to host your website on China hosting server? According to a recent US congress report, the Chinese cyber espionage is pretty active that could put your web properties at risk. Especially when referring to the closely connection between Chinas ministry of state security and cloud computing. It's recognized a potential threat to foreign companies who might use this service in this area.
Is that true? Why China is always criticized for internet business? We reviewed a lot of articles from both China and US professionals and concluded following points.
The China's Internet access is not free
It's not about price but the freedom on internet surfing. Comparing to most other areas on the planet, there're too many restrictions. Not to mention what kind of content you can host on website, you are also restricted to visit some websites. For example, the popular websites like youtube, twitter and facebook are not accessible directly. Recently, the IT ministry even require real name registration for internet access which is unbelivable by most people. In year 2012, there're several information leak events on multiple China's famous website. Those information include people's sensitive privacy that could bring critical issues.
It's Not so easy to get a website online
We have briefly introduced the complex process to get your website hosted from a China hosting server. The requirements were updated recently. Users need to provide more detailed personal information based those already submited materials. This includes your full home address, ID card scan and your personal photo with authorized hosting company images. If you can't pass through the ICP license checking, your website will be put offline until you submitted all required information correctly.
That's for website hosting. But now you also need to get ICP license for your domain name. The required information is the same as website license. Basically, if you want to ensure the site to be hosted properly you need to ensure the domain information and website informaiton to be matched.
Aditionally, website contents will be checked by hosting providers and cyber security organizations. You will get warnings once they found any "illegal" material on your website.
The law allows government direct access to electronic communication instruments
Means if there's need, government can access to IT equipments without notification in advance. There's no clear explanation what kind authorization they have but definitely its not good news to users because your web properties do not get necessary protection. Especially when the equipments is connected to oversea service, it brings potential security threat to the entire network.
The real cyber activities
It's not a surprise to read about various cyber espionage activities because it's popular all around the world. The US government itself is even involved. The difference in this country is such activities are from all sides and probably leaded by military organizations.
However, regardless any kind restriction, the main impact is for those big commercial groups because they're handling lots of sensitive information. In China, most personal or enterprise websites are small showcase sites. Few of them doing real business transaction directly. The ecommerce platforms are mainly operated by several popular sites like Alibaba, Taobao and amazon etc. These sites is handling more than 90% ecommerce business.
What if you operate a business in China?
Hosting is no more a complex service today. For big groups they always have their own IT department and all their web properties are hosted on their company servers in their office. To ensure the best security and reliability, it's highly recommended to setup your company IT structure. From recent events from Chinese government, they're doing lots of reforms in multiple areas and foreign telcom services will possiblely share a piece of the market in near future. So the overall security will be improved for sure. If you deeply concern about cyber security, it's suggested host your web property from a reputable oversea server service.
China cyber security reports