The Chinese authorities have closed what they have called the biggest hacker training website operating in the country and which, in its heyday, had more than 12,000 paying wannabe hackers.
Black Hawk Safety Net (ed : ironic, hey!) boosted up to 182,000 members and was founded in 2005 with its virtual headquarters located in Xuchang of the central Henan Province. The site was discovered as part of the followup to a cyber-attack in 2007 in the Macheng city.
But it was only in April 2009 that the Chinese police caught up with the three system administrators behind the BHSN network. Up to 50 police officers were on duty to investigate the hacking case in three separate Chinese provinces.
More than 1.7 million Yuan (nearly £160,000) in assets were seized, together with nine servers, five computers and a Honda Accord. The business' main websites, 3800cc.com and 3800hk.com, were also closed down.
The National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Center of China estimates that the hacking industry costs China and its businesses around £700 million pounds every year.
The arrests come a few weeks after Google disclosed that, together with around 30 other US-based companies, it had been the victim of a cyber-attack that seems to originate from mainland China and threatened to leave the country altogether.
Interestingly, Xinhuanet says that providing online hacking tools has just been labelled as a crime under China's Criminal laws, something which ironically is not the case elsewhere where such tools still carry the label "for educational purposes only".
Hacking "schools" are a new phenomenon. It has been helped by the need and the demand for such a business. Formerly, forums and underground websites were readily available for those looking to learn the ropes of hacking and how to distribute malware.