An investigation into Chinese cybercrime and the underground economy in comparison with the West.
University of Southampton, Web Science Doctoral Training Centre,
With 420 million Internet users, China has become the world?s largest Internet population. In terms of Internet security, this implies that the security of the Internet in China has become globally significant. In this investigation, cybercrimes in China are studied from both sociological as well as technical perspectives. The paper begins with a study into the state of the Internet development as well as the state of Internet security in China. An introduction is also given on the rise of Chinese hacktivists, the politically motivated hackers in China. This is followed by a detailed account of a recent case of Chinese hacktivism against Japan which has brought to light some valuable insights into the true state of hacktivism in China and the level of tolerance of the Chinese government towards politically motivated hacking. A top-down approach was then used to study and compare frameworks of cybercrime in the West and in China. It was found that not only do organised cybercrimes exist in China but also an underground economy as sophisticated as that in the West is flourishing at a rapid pace. Furthermore, estimates from Chinese security experts suggest that the size of the Chinese underground economy may well be much larger than that in the West. Lastly, the Chinese underground economy was studied in details by looking at the common ways in which Chinese cybercriminals trade as well as the pricing of the commonly traded goods, which are compared against the West. It was found that in general, while carding merchandises are similarly priced in China and in the West, malware and technical support services are not.
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