Cat Techie

Friday, August 27, 2010

The underworld of strange hackers

"A few weeks before Google was hijacked, there was a similar virus. If you opened a particular page on Google, you were infected."

With a few quick keystrokes, a computer hacker who goes by the code name Majia calls up a screen displaying his latest victims. "Here's a list of the people who've been infected with my Trojan horse," he says, working from a dingy apartment on the outskirts of this city in central China. "They don't even know what's happened ." As he explains it, an online "trapdoor" he created a week ago has already lured 2,000 people from China and overseas - people who clicked on something they should not have, inadvertently spreading a virus that allows him to take control of their computers and steal bank account passwords. Majia, a soft-spoken college graduate in his early 20s, is a cyberthief. He operates secretly and illegally , as part of a community of hackers who exploit flaws in computer software to break into websites, steal valuable data and sell it for a profit. Internet security experts say China has legions of hackers just like Majia, and that they are behind an escalating number of global attacks to steal credit card numbers, commit corporate espionage and even wage online warfare on other nations. In addition to independent criminals like Majia, computer security specialists say there are so-called patriotic hackers who focus their attacks on political targets. Then there are the intelligence-oriented hackers inside the People's Liberation Army, as well as more shadowy groups that are believed to work with the government. Indeed, in China - as in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia - computer hacking has become something of a national sport, and a lucrative one. There are hacker conferences, hacker training academies and magazines with names like Hacker X Files and Hacker Defense, which offer tips on how to break into computers or build a Trojan horse, step by step. For less than $6, one can even purchase the Hacker's Penetration Manual. And with 380 million Web users in China and a sizzling online gaming market, analysts say it is no wonder Chinese youth are so skilled at hacking. Many Chinese hackers interviewed over the past few weeks describe a loosely defined community of computer devotees working independently but also selling services to corporations and even the military. Because it is difficult to trace hackers, exactly who is behind any specific attack and how and where they operate remains to a large extent a mystery, technology experts say. And that is just the way Majia, the young Chinese hacker, wants it.
Majia fell in love with hacking in college. After a degree in engineering, he took a job with a government agency, largely to please his parents. But every night after work, he turns to his passion: hacking. "Most hackers are lazy," he says, seated in front of a computer in his spare bedroom, which overlooks a dilapidated apartment complex. "Only a few of us can actually write code. That's the hard part."
Computer hacking is illegal in China. Last year, Beijing revised and stiffened a law that makes hacking a crime, with punishments of up to seven years in prison. Majia seems to disregard the law, largely because it is not strictly enforced. But he does take care to cover his tracks. He admitted the lure was money. Many hackers make a lot of money, he said. Exactly how much he has earned, he will not say. But he admits to selling malicious code to others; and boasts of being able to tap into people's bank accounts by remotely operating their computers. Financial incentives motivate many young Chinese hackers like Majia, experts say. Scott J Henderson, author of The Dark Visitor: Inside the World of Chinese Hackers, said many had been seeking to profit from stealing data from big corporations, or teaching others how to hijack computers. "They make a lot of money selling viruses and Trojan horses to infect other people's computers," Henderson. "They also break into online gaming accounts, and sell the virtual characters. It's big money." Majia even claims to know details of the Google attack. "That Trojan horse on Google was created by a foreign hacker," he says, indicating that the virus was then altered in China.

4 comments:

  1. Please name some active underground groups?

    and who are these group ethicalhacker.net, whitehatguru.net, hackgyan.net, www.ethicalhackers.in, yehg.net, I found while looking for whitehat and blackhat hackers group.

    is it possible to join hackers group, what is minimum requirement

    ReplyDelete
  2. urduhack,gangbangindia,punjabhackers and many more such groups are actively involved in hacking.there are two types of hackers,national which are called ethicle but these so called ethicle hackers are nothing but white collored criminals and others are anti national such as chinees and pakistani hackers.Hackers have no principles or ethics, this is one of the most infamous crime world.

    ReplyDelete
  3. All comments are bogus.. ignore it

    ReplyDelete

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