China has reported a sharp rise in fake web sites last year. It reports 223 sites, which is a big increase from only one reported in 2002 and 2003. The figures, which were released at a two-day annual session on computer network security, betray a worrying trend of fake web sites on the internet in general, and a problem with internet security in China.

Many Web sites of domestic finance institutions, including the Bank of China, have been imitated. Hackers sent e-mails with false information or forged Web pages to trick Internet users into visiting their fake sites where they are asked to enter their personal banking details, allowing the hackers to steal their money, the CNCERT official said.

China reported that most compromised systems had not been updated with patches or protected by anti-virus software and firewalls, which may well explain how hackers are getting in. China now has a number of problems with its internet infrastructure.

llicit revision of Web pages, spam mail, Internet worms and other viruses are all intimidating the security of China’s computer networks.