søndag 10. mars 2024

Behind the doors of a Chinese hacking company, a sordid culture fueled by influence, alcohol and sex

The hotel was spacious. It was upscale. It had a karaoke bar. The perfect venue, the CEO of the Chinese hacking company thought, to hold a Lunar New Year banquet currying favor with government officials. There was just one drawback, his top deputy said.

“Who goes there?” the deputy wrote. “The girls are so ugly.”

So goes the sordid wheeling and dealing that takes place behind the scenes in China’s hacking industry, as revealed in a highly unusual leak last month of internal documents from a private contractor linked to China’s government and police. China’s hacking industry, the documents reveal, suffers from shady business practices, disgruntlement over pay and work quality, and poor security protocols.

Private hacking contractors are companies that steal data from other countries to sell to the Chinese authorities. Over the past two decades, Chinese state security’s demand for overseas intelligence has soared, giving rise to a vast network of these private hackers-for-hire companies that have infiltrated hundreds of systems outside China.