Dec 19 2008

How much money does a Chinese hacker gang make?


Introduction: Rambling thoughts

There is an old military expression that says, “Amateurs study strategyprofessionals study logistics.” Logistics is the ability to drive the train, to make sure that the troops have the capability to accomplish the strategy.  What are the logistics behind a Chinese hacker attack?

1) Computers

2) Personnel

3) Transportation (Access to the internet)

3) Knowledge

4) Malware (Trojans, Viruses….etc)

5) Programs (Scanners, Dictionary attack tools…etc)

6) Money

7) More?

There is also a formula for determining threat analysis:

1) Intent:  Without the intent to do harm, the threat assessment is considered minimal.  Friends and allies are considered extremely low-level threats even if they have the capability to cause great destruction.  Capability without intent lowers the risk factor considerably.

Clearly, Chinese hackers have demonstrated intent in the form of nationalism and monetary gain. CHECK

2) Capability:  Does an adversary have the means to carry out the threat?  While the enemy may wish to do you great harm, without capability it means little.

With a number of governments scrambling to secure and/or repair their information systems, there is little doubt Chinese hacker have the capability. CHECK

3) Motivation:  The determination to carry out and sustain the attack.

Motivation started in the form of nationalism but quickly turned to cash.  Either way, the motivation to continue and sustain attacks is still present and shows no sign of decreasing.  CHECK

So, what binds these rambling thoughts?  Money, money money!  Without the financing to support their logistics, operations come to a standstill.  Pull out logistics and you lose capability, leaving only intent.

Final random thought: A reporter once asked Willy Sutton, a bank robber, why he robbed banks?

“Because that’s where the money is”

-Willy Sutton, Bank Robber

And Now, back to your regularly scheduled program:

From, the Wuxi court has found a gang of six Chinese hackers guilty of running phony websites designed to steal the passwords of online gamers.  In less than half a year, the crew had earned over one million yuan (USD 146,000).

In July of 2007, the defendant, Mr. Ma, learned of a method to hijack domain name servers in order steal account names and passwords from online gamers.  He then asked his co-conspirator, Mr. Peng, to write the hijacking program.

In August and September of last year, Mr Ma brought four other members into the gang and together they developed a scheme to get rich.  In order to carry out the crime, the group invested 22,000 yuan (USD 3,200) in a computer, server and room rental.

Peng’s program was used to capture the domain name servers in ten provinces and cities such as Jiangsu Province, Liaoning Province, Shanghai, Chongqing…etc.  After a user register for the website, they would automatically be redirected to the gang’s forged website.

The gang members were sentenced from 1-4 years for the crime.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “How much money does a Chinese hacker gang make?”

  1. nullon 21 Dec 2008 at 4:17 am

    Your new font looks horrible. Nearly illegible.

  2. Heikeon 21 Dec 2008 at 7:21 am


    Yeah, I’ll have to go in and change the font and the way it puts everything in caps. Just wanted to see if people liked the new theme better. If they do we will tweak the rest of the stuff.