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China shuts down hacker training operation

February 9, 2010

February 8, 2010

BEIJING -- Police in central China have shut down
a hacker training company that taught thousands
of people how to launch cyberattacks and provided
them with spy software, media reports said Monday.

The reports come amid growing accusations of
organised computer hacking originating from China
that has chilled ties with the United States, and
follow Google's threat last month to quit the Chinese market over cyberattacks.

Police in Hubei province shut down Black Hawk
Safety Net and arrested three people, the
state-run Xinhua news agency said, calling the
operation China's "biggest hacker training website".

The company openly offered downloads of hacker
tools and trojan software to 12,000 VIP members
and 170,000 others who had registered for free membership.

The Legal Daily newspaper said on its website
that the company was shut down in November and
that police had frozen more than 1.7 million yuan
(250,000 dollars) in assets and confiscated nine
web servers, five computers and a car.

Black Hawk Safety Net was founded in 2005 and
headquartered in Xuchang city in Henan province which neighbours Hubei.

The China Daily quoted anonymous Black Hawk
Safety Net members saying users learned how to
hack into the financial accounts of others and
steal funds, through courses that cost between 100 and 2,000 yuan.

The reports said authorities began investigating
the company last year after finding evidence that
three of its customers were involved in a 2007
cyberattack that disrupted web services in the Hubei city of Macheng.

The reports gave no further information on any
cyberattacks linked to the company.

Google said in January it would no longer abide
by Chinese government censorship and was mulling
leaving the country with the world's largest
number of online users, citing cyberattacks on it
and more than 20 other companies.

Google has said the attacks appeared aimed in
part at the email accounts of activists dealing
with Chinese human rights issues and appeared to have originated from China.

The Chinese government has denied any involvement in the cyberattacks.

The Google row has added to a tensions between
Beijing and Washington on a range of other issues
including trade, US arms sales to Taiwan, and Tibet.
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