China has closed what it claims to be the largest hacker training website in the country and arrested three of its members, domestic media reported on Monday.
The Black Hawk Safety Net website taught hacking techniques and provided malicious software downloads for its 12,000 members in exchange for a fee, the Wuhan Evening News newspaper reported this weekend, citing police in Huanggang, just east of Wuhan.
Hacking from China has received international attention since Google Inc threatened to quit China last month after a serious hacking attempt originating from China, resulting in the theft of its intellectual property.
China has denied involvement in the hacking episode and said it does not condone hacking.
The website was shut in late November and three of its members arrested on suspicion of criminal activity, the newspaper reported, without saying why the news was only released now.
Wuhan happens to be home to the Communication Command Academy, which trains hackers, according to U.S. congressional testimony by cyber expert James Mulvenon in 2008.
The popularity of hacking in China, and hackers' use of multiple addresses and servers, in Taiwan and elsewhere, makes it hard to prove how or by whom they are coordinated.
Would-be hackers in China do not have to look far to figure out how to do it, thanks to a healthy hacking industry and sites such as Black Hawk Safety Net (www.3800hk.com), which was unavailable on Monday.
(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Lucy Hornby)