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Beijing hosts cyber-security conference

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Top cyber-security analysts are gathering in the Chinese capital for a summit to boost security in the sector, amid the increasing threat of computer hacking worldwide.

About 300 participants from countries including the United States, Japan and Australia are attending the two-day summit, which starts on Wednesday and is initiated by XFOCUS, a Chinese information security society.

Starting from a website in 1999 created by information security professionals, XFOCUS has organized eight Xcon conferences since 2002 for professionals in the industry to exchange skills and meet friends.

The meeting has drawn wide media attention partly because China has grown quickly to become the country with the biggest Internet population in 2009 and consequently experienced frequent cases of cyber attacks, analysts said.

The conference gathers information security professionals to exchange skills and welcomes stakeholders to discuss technical issues, said Fang Xing, a veteran participant and a speaker at the meeting. Fang is also one of 16 core members of XFOCUS.

"We don't want to be confused with the so-called hackers," said Fang, CEO of the Nanjing-based information technology cooperation, Vulnhunt.

There are two camps within the hacker community, Fang said. One is called "the black hat" and its members attack systems, while members of the other "white hat" group defend systems from being attacked, said the 37-year-old Fang.

"Although many people call us 'hackers', actually we are the 'white hats' who have conducted deep research on hackers' technologies to help enterprises and users defend themselves against hackers," Fang said.

Veteran US hackers, who recently concluded a meeting in Las Vegas known for attracting rogue software savants that have found ways to "crack" items including smart phones, Web browsers and power plants, are also attending the conference in Beijing, AFP reported.

"We want to create understanding between the two hacker cultures," said Colin Ames, who is part of a scouting team setting out for the conference.

"It's nonsense that all Chinese hackers are evil and hack for the government."

Ames told China Daily through e-mail that he wanted to learn more about the challenges China faces in computer security and share knowledge about the challenges the US faces.

"We believe that through understanding and friendship, we can avoid problems and bad assumptions we can learn from each other and improve the state of security of both nations," he said.

Analysts from IT giant Microsoft have also been invited to the conference, organizers said.

The upcoming conference is already one of the most influential gatherings in the Chinese information security circle and it aims to become "the most professional one in Asia", Fang said.

"It's not exactly between China and the US. It brings researchers from all around the world for the purpose of technical communication," said Sun Bing, an information security researcher who has spoken at Xcon three times.

The conference hall for the event will seat 270 people, said organizers, who closed the meeting to media because they wanted it to keep a low profile.

Fang said the most pleasant part of the conference each year is that it provides an opportunity for friends in the circle to gather.

"We can chat, we can drink, and we can know what's new. We can think together," Fang said.

"The computer security area is experiencing more and more hacker attacks around the world. So this conference is very necessary," said a Japanese attendee, who did not want to be named.

"I'm here to learn," he said.

(Source: China Daily)

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