Chinese Filter Software Opens Hacking Risk

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It would appear that China’s idea of supposedly safeguarding its citizens from offensive material by having the Green Dam Youth Escort filtering software on all computers isn’t so safe after all.

Chinese experts have said that the software is full of faults and could leave the computers open to being taken over by hackers. That’s not good news when the government has mandated that all computers in the country must install it, and a reported three million have already downloaded it.

Isaac Mao, a blogger and social entrepreneur in China who’s also a research fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society told the BBC:

"We found a series of software flaws," pointing out that communications between the software and company servers were unencrypted, which could allow hackers to "steal people’s private information" or "place malicious script" on computers in the network to "affect [a] large scale disaster."

It could, for instance, lead to the creation of a botnet on an unbelievable scale.

Of course, there’s been a backlash from some Chinese citizens, as well as privacy advocates, but it appears that the software is very far from being all that. Some have said it only works with IE, meaning Linux and Mac are unaffected, while other have reported plenty of freedom with Firefox. And where it does work, it apparently often bans legitimate as well as illegal content.