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China's military says website had 2.3 million attacks

A website set up by China's Defense Ministry said it was hit by 2.3 million hacker attacks in its first month of operation, but none of them were successful.

Website editor Ji Guilin was quoted as saying the site (www.mod.gov.cn) had been popular with less malign visitors as well, drawing 1.25 billion visits in the three months since its August 20 launch.

Earlier, the official English-language China Daily put the number of hacker attacks at 230 million. That figure appeared wrong because it would equate to more than 5,000 attacks per minute.

Cyber attacks to steal information or disrupt operations are a growing concern for the world's militaries as technology takes on an ever-increasing role.

The United States said this year it would create a Cyber Command to oversee the U.S. military's efforts to protect its computer networks and operate in cyberspace.

Officials added then that more than 100 foreign intelligence services were trying to hack into U.S. networks, but there were also concerns about terrorist attacks and individual hackers.

China's normally secretive military launched its site (www.mod.gov.cn), which also has an English version, in a new bid to allay overseas criticism over transparency and the build-up of its armed forces.

The moves come at a time when China has been ramping up investment in its military -- the world's largest -- to introduce new high-tech weapons. Reported budget spending has grown by double digits in recent years.

But the secrecy of China's political system makes its Asian neighbors and Washington wary about its military intentions.

Its rivals worry that its actual defense expenditure is more than the $70 billion (£42 billion) reported for this year, which is dwarfed by the Pentagon's budget of more than $500 billion (£300 billion).

China insists its military modernization threatens no country, though it has long threatened to attack Taiwan, over which Beijing has claimed sovereignty since their split in 1949, if the self-ruled democratic island formally declares independence.