Authorities in China’s Hubei province say they have shut down a cybercriminal training organization known as the Black Hawk Safety Net that provided members with malware and other tools to carry out cyberattacks. The organization also openly recruited for new members online, and assisted its members in creating and distributing trojan horses and other programs.
Chinese authorities have not published any significant details of the arrest, but claim the gang had recruited as many as 12,000 paying subscribers and pulled in more than 7 million yuan (about $1 million USD) in membership fees and other income. According to a report in China Daily, more than 170,000 others had signed into the organizations’ free membership; the police also reported ly seized nine servers, five other computers, and a car, along with shutting down Web sites associated with the operation.
The crackdown comes amid growing concerns that China is fostering a growing industry in computer crime and industrial espionage, recently highlighted by sophisticated cyberattacks on Google and other large corporations doing business in China. Some speculation has the Chinese government (or its agents) behind some of the attacks, since some of the targets were email accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Internet security specialists have long speculated that the sophistication level of some cyberattacks originating in China may be due to the Chinese government or military training or assisting attackers.