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CHINA is fighting back against computer hacking as a new law governing the sentencing of hackers and other Internet offenders is on the way, said the Ministry of Public Security.

Lawmakers are working on the judicial interpretations of the new rules, due to be released by the end of the year, said Gu Jian, deputy director of the ministry's Network Security Protection Bureau.

This is China's latest step to beef up security against the increasing problem of cyber crime. Since 2004, more than 1.64 million online offences have been reported to China's Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center.

While some 80 percent of cases concerned online pornography and scamming, the center said numbers of hacking attacks are increasing.

Gu said eight out of 10 computers with Internet access in China are now suffering "botnet attack," in which hackers use malicious software to invade and remotely control other computers to forward spam or viruses. Most hackers use a computer network registered aboard, Gu added.

China first included computer crimes in its Criminal Law in 1997.

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