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The BBC's Kevin Anderson
"This is not an uncommon thing in the hacking community"
 real 28k

Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
'Truce' in US-China hacking war
Chinese hackers message to the US
The Chinese hackers left calling cards at hundreds of sites
Computer hackers in China have called a halt to their online war with internet users from the United States.

The so-called Honker Union of China - an informal union of Chinese hackers - says it has successfully attacked more than a thousand United States websites.

Now, the hackers say they have reached their goal and are calling a truce.


Any attacks from this point on have no connection to the Honker Union

Honker Union of China
The cyberwar began after a mid-air collision between a US spyplane and a Chinese fighter aircraft on 1 April.

The Chinese plane crashed into the sea killing its pilot while the US plane and its crew of 24 was held by China. The crew was released 11 days later.

As the US crew were still being held, US hackers broke into hundreds of Chinese sites, leaving messages such as "We will hate China forever and we will hack its sites".

Hackers, such as this man from Taiwan, took either the US or the Chinese side
A hacker accesses a Chinese government website
In response, the Honker Union announced it would launch its own electronic graffiti blitz. Tit-for-tat web defacements followed, causing damage to sites run in both countries.

At the time, the Honker Union called on Chinese software engineers to increase internet security on Chinese websites, which had been attacked by American hackers.

Correspondents say companies from both countries scrambled to patch up security systems and to temporarily shut down web sites deemed a security risk.


Because of this incident, network security in China will see great improvement. At least more people will become serious about building up network security

Gao Yongan, an executive at the Beijing-based network security firm NSFocus

A statement by the Honker Union, carried by Chinese portal Chinabyte, says: "Any attacks from this point on have no connection to the Honker Union."

The Honker Union of China statement called for improving network security in China, and said that the sites that were violated were mostly small.

"Because of this incident, network security in China will see great improvement. At least more people will become serious about building up network security," the statement said.

Gao Yongan, an executive at the Beijing-based network security firm NSFocus, said many web sites would be vulnerable to hacker attacks until network administrators tightened up the security of their servers.

Most hacker attacks, including web site defacements, are made through a chain of passive servers that act as springboards.

Mr Yongan, who claims to be a reformed hacker, said: "The only way to solve this problem is to improve the global network safety level, and to make sure that no computers are available for attackers to use."

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See also:

10 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Clinton: China no adversary
28 Apr 01 | Americas
US fears Chinese hack attack
25 Oct 98 | Monitoring
War of words on the Internet
09 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Yahoo attack exposes web weakness
09 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Yahoo brought to standstill
30 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Interpol patrols the web
26 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Web hackers strike again
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