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China closes hacker training site, arrests three members

Owen Fletcher | Feb. 9, 2010
The arrests were said to be the first under Chinese law revisions made last year

Beijing, 8 February 2010 - Chinese police have shut down what they called the country's biggest hacker training Web site and arrested three people linked to the site, local media said Saturday.

Police in the central province of Hubei began probing Black Hawk Safety Net after finding some of its members used malicious programs provided by the site to commit cybercrimes, according to newspapers including the People's Daily, the official paper of the Communist Party.

The three arrests are the first made under revisions to China's criminal law last year that banned the design and distribution of hacking tools, the reports said. Those revisions, which marked China's first law protecting the public from cyber data theft, were one of several measures China unveiled against cybercrime in the last year, a time when reports of arrests for crimes like malware attacks have also become more common in the country.

Black Hawk Safety Net and similar increasingly popular Web sites in China offer chat forums and hacking training tools like videos to members, some of whom pay fees for extra services. Black Hawk collected 7 million yuan (US$1 million) in user fees paid by a portion of its 180,000 members, the reports said. The Web site did not return a call requesting comment.

Google threw global attention on hacking in China last month, when it cited cyberattacks from China as one reason it may stop censoring search results on its China-based search engine, even if that means leaving the country altogether. China has denied any government role in the attacks and said the country's laws ban hacking crimes.


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