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08 February 2010, 16:31

China shuts down cracker website

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The Chinese authorities have shut down what they describe as the biggest training website for hackers in China. The China Daily newspaper on Monday reported that three of the people behind the "Black Hawk Safety Net" site have been arrested. The group is said to have offered software and assistance for cracker attacks over the web. Since 2005, the website has acquired 12,000 members, paying out 7 million yuan (approximately £650,000) in membership fees. According to China Daily, 170,000 users were registered with the site.

The police began investigating the site in 2007, when a number of Black Hawk members were connected to an attack on the municipality of Macheng in Hubei province. News of the shutdown comes against the backdrop of a dispute with the USA over an attack on US internet giant Google. Google claims that the attacks originated in China. The Beijing government has rejected the allegations, stating that it is itself the biggest victim of online attacks and takes stern measures against crackers.

China Daily quotes a 23-year old Black Hawk member as saying, "I could download trojan programs from the site which allowed me to control other people's computers." Courses cost between 100 and 2000 yuan (approximately £9 and £187). "I did this just for fun but I also know that many other members could make a fortune by attacking other people's accounts." In Chinese press reports the talk has largely been of attacks on private access data for games and other entertainment websites and on e-mail and chat rooms. A 20-year old student told China Daily, "Basically students were told how to steal accounts and use trojan programs."


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