VPN provider suspends services amid crackdown
Supervision of VPN services is necessary to effectively curb cyber crimes, experts said Monday, after a VPN provider revealed that it had suspended its service due to China's crackdown on telecom fraud.
The provider, Vpntech Runo, said in an email sent to its subscribers that the Chinese government seems to have started cleaning up VPN services as part of its action against telecom fraud in the Chinese mainland. That could be the reason why the domain of our website has been blocked frequently.
"Under such circumstances, we decided to shut down the website from October 9 and you will not be able to purchase the service or make any enquiries. Some other VPN services may also be affected," read the email.
But a customer service staff at Astrill, another leading VPN provider, told the Global Times on Monday that "Astrill is working fine in China."
"VPN service could be used as a springboard by cyber criminals to spread pornography, run gambling business, and even conduct fraud in China," Qin An, a cyber-security expert at the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, told the Global Times.
"Chinese authorities have been making efforts to curb cyber crimes and effective management of VPN providers is a part of the effort," he noted.
Shen Yi, deputy director of the cyberspace management center at Fudan University, echoed that it is very likely that the cyber outlaws take advantage of VPN services to access blocked websites and carry out attacks in the mainland.
Shen called for VPN providers to shoulder the responsibility.
In recent years, more and more Chinese Net users have used alternative ways to surf the Internet by using mirror websites or VPNs.
A cyber security analyst previously pointed out that companies running a VPN business in China must register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and that unregistered VPN service providers are not protected by Chinese laws.