As the Google hacking incident is turning into an international scandal, the China Daily News released the news that Chinese police had cracked down the country's largest hacking school in Hubei back in November 2009. The report seems to suggest that hacking is a private business and has nothing to do with the government.
According to a Hubei local news (via Hong Kong Mingpao Daily), the hacking school, “Black Hawk Safety Net” has over 180,000 members. The Hubei Police said that back in 2007 they received complaint from internet cafe that their computers were hacked and the hackers blackmail the cafe owner for 8000 yuan (equivalent to USD1000). The three hackers involved came from the “Black Hawk” School and they were arrested in April 2008. Last year, the police arrested two key managers of the school.
The China Daily News also explains that:
Hubei province named Black Hawk Safety Net as the largest hacker training site in China, which openly recruited members and disseminated hacker techniques through lessons, trojan software and online forum communications.
Since it was established in 2005, the site had recruited more than 12,000 VIP members and collected more than 7 million yuan in membership fees. More than 170,000 people registered for free membership.
A 20-year-old college student who registered with three different hacker training sites said a hacker training course costs from 100 to 2,000 yuan.
“Basically students were told how to steal accounts and use trojan programs. Sometimes trainers show us how to write programs,” he said.
China CERT organization (via Mingpao) estimated that the hacking business across the country had a 10 billion yuan (US1.3 billion) turn over last year. Hackers earn their income by writing program upgrade and implanting Trojan software into computers for stealing information.