Symantec Discovers Chinese Hacking Group
News from Symantec Corp. today is shocking the Internet world. The cyber-security company has discovered a group of hired hackers called the Hidden Lynx group was responsible for many hacker crimes that have happened since 2009. Reuters reports this morning that the group may have been responsible for the major attacks on Google some years ago.
This news is in stark contrast to the original assumption that the Chinese government was behind the cyber attacks. Symantec's new findings do not point to government involvement at this time. Instead, the report states that Symantec investigators were not able to find the individuals behind the ‘Hidden Lynx' group, but that the group exists.
All Hacking Fingers Point to China
How can Symantec be sure that the hackers are based in China? According to the company, the code used to create software that was behind the attacks was written in Chines. Further, a large amount of the equipment used in the attacks is stationed in China. When the aforementioned attacks happened in 2009, the Chines government denied that they had anything to do with the hacking crimes.
Today, we are no closer to narrowing in on the Chinese government with Symantec's newest findings, but the information that Symantec has uncovered is, indeed, interesting. So, just how many people are needed to take down a company like Google or to perform various other cyber hacks?
The Sheer Size of It
When you think of a hacker, or hacking gang, what do you think of? The stereotype is a guy (or guys) in a black hoodie hunched over a glowing screen in a dingy room that has no windows and no natural light. But, that's far from the truth. The way that Symantec is painting this recent picture is more of a modern day office-type setting.
Symantec states that there are anywhere from 50-100 people behind the hacking operation. Further, these people are professionals, meaning that they have applied, interviewed, and been hired in order to hack into various companies. What we're looking at here is organized hacking. That's an even scarier image than a guy hunched over a keyboard, right?
Symantec Discovers Chinese Hacking Group: Hacking is Big Business
I'll point out, again, the Symantec does not link the hacking group to the Chinese government – but I'm going to make a similar link for the sake of argument. When you have government (or big business) dollars behind your hacking group, money isn't tight. These groups can afford to hire the best hackers out there, and those hackers are working for a wage just like we are (albeit, a writer's wage is probably a lot lower!).
So the future of hacking and cyber crimes might not be what it once was. Gone are those windowless cells filled with pimply-faced hackers. In their place are offices, flooded with sunlight, and hackers that punch in at 9, leave at 5, and ride public transit to the office every day just like the rest of the planet. The only difference here is that these employees are getting paid to disrupt the Internet.