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Hackers Find China Is Land of Opportunity

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A booth for a British companys products at a law enforcement trade show in Beijing.

A booth for a British companys products at a law enforcement trade show in Beijing. Chinese companies there boasted of their ability to hack into and monitor computers and cellphones.

Credit: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times

In China, hacking is openly discussed and promoted at trade shows, inside university classrooms, and on Internet forums, and thrives across official, corporate, and criminal worlds.

For example, the Ministry of Education and Chinese universities join companies in sponsoring hacking competitions attended by army talent scouts.

Experts say the driving force behind hacking's universal acceptance in China is the government's insistence on maintaining surveillance over anyone deemed suspicious. Although the U.S. government criticizes what it considers state-sponsored attacks, China's hacking attacks tend to be simple, generally occurring only between normal business hours, and without much effort to hide their actions.

"They’re using the least amount of sophistication necessary to accomplish their mission," says FireEye's Darien Kindlund. "They have a lot of manpower available, but not necessarily a lot of intelligent manpower to conduct these operations stealthily."

Although some hackers pursue criminal activities, there are many legitimate ways skilled hackers can earn generous salaries in China, as an increasing number of cybersecurity companies offer cybersecurity services to the government, state-owned enterprises, and private companies.

From The New York Times
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