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Chinese Government Aims To Tame Hackers

A Chinese hacker's eight-year prison sentence is one of the toughest ever seen, according to a consultant.

The Chinese government may be getting serious about dealing with hackers.

Representative Chen Wanzhi of the National People's Congress has called for greater control over the hacker economy in order to protect legitimate businesses, according to a translation of a Chinese news article posted on The Dark Visitor, a blog that follows hacking in China.

Chen reportedly considers the network security situation in China to be grim.

On Tuesday, the Shanghai Daily reported that four hackers had been imprisoned for stealing more than $14,000 (100,000 yuan) from online bank accounts using personal information obtained through malware.

Three of the men were sentenced to six-and-a-half to eight years in prison for larceny and fined, according to the Shanghai Daily. The four received a sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison for concealing illegal income.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said in a statement that the eight-year jail sentence is one of the toughest he has seen in connection with malware. "Spending time in a Chinese jail for such a small reward seems an enormously dangerous gamble for cybercriminals to make," he said. "Sadly we are seeing more and more malware emerging from China, much of it designed to steal information from unsuspecting computer users. The advice for consumers and businesses remains to secure their computers with tight defenses."

CNCERT statistics indicate that China saw 21 times as many trojans in the first half of 2007 as it did in all of 2006, according to The Dark Visitor.

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