CHINA has asked government agencies and companies to improve their ability to ward off computer hackers and data thieves, as the increasing use of the Internet has created more information security risks.

In a series of guidelines put forward by the State Council, China's Cabinet, on Tuesday, government agencies have been advised to reduce the number of channels through which hackers might be able to attack and tighten supervision measures over classified information.

The energy and finance sectors, nuclear facilities, space programs and large infrastructure projects are required to put information security and supervision measures in place to guard against risks.

China is facing increasing cyber attacks and threats from overseas despite improved security, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Center of China, the nation's primary computer security monitoring network.

It said a total of 47,000 overseas-based Internet protocol addresses (IPs) were involved in attacks against 8.9 million Chinese computers last year, compared to nearly 5 million targeted computers in 2010.

To protect the country's information resources, the State Council has called for strict regulation of data collection by enterprises and organizations and required government agencies to ensure safety in information exchanges.

The guidelines say efforts will be intensified in order to better detect and handle "information emergencies," crack down on Internet crime and protect personal information.

China has also vowed to boost the development of information industry, which it believes will have a significant bearing on its economic restructuring.

The country will install new-generation information infrastructure and promote the integration of information technology and industrialization, according to the guidelines.

China is set to establish a nationwide third-generation telecommunications network by the end of 2015 and apply information technology to agriculture, emission reduction efforts and the service sector.

A goal has been set for e-commerce transaction turnover to exceed 18 trillion yuan (US$2.82 trillion) by 2015, when online retail sales are expected to exceed nine percent of total retail sales of consumer goods.

More fiscal and human resource support will be given to advance the development of the information industry, according to the guidelines.

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