back to article Hack computers to steal someone's identity in China? Why? You can just buy one from a bumpkin for, like, $3k

Black Hat founder Jeff Moss opened this year's shindig in Las Vegas with tales of quite how odd the hacking culture in China is. You see, Moss also founded the DEF CON conference series, and has started running DEF CON events for nerds in China – which makes sense given the sizable reservoir of infosec and computer science …

  1. Chris the bean counter

    Hong Kong Hacking

    I expect China's biggest fear is 100,000 highly motivated HK hackers.

    Given how centralised China's systems such as payment are they are very vulnerable especially as GCHQ have highlighted poor security.

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Doesn't scale

    > $3,000 per ID.

    Why not pay a civil servant in the local office to generate 1000 new blank ids for you ?

    It's not like the government is going to notice another 1000 Mr Wongs

    1. J. Cook Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Doesn't scale

      That'd be a lot of Wong numbers.

      and just remember, even 1000 Wongs don't make a right.

      Ow! ok, ok, I'm getting my coat already!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doesn't scale

        That's racist and Wong!...

        I'll Li Ma self out.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't scale

      "Why not pay a civil servant in the local office to generate 1000 new blank ids for you ?"

      It would probably flag up as dodgy if large numbers of adults suddenly appeared in the system. I wouldn't be surprised if some enterprising civil servant hadn't already started creating fake children 20+ years ago to be available to sell later on. After all the 'fake children' or 'recycling IDs of people who died as children' fake ID generation methods are decades, perhaps even centuries old

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There’s no point in hacking systems to steal strangers' identities to use for nefarious purposes

    "For a start, identity theft [in China] is virtually unknown, Moss said. There’s no point in hacking systems to steal strangers' identities to use for nefarious purposes, because it’s easy to obtain a legitimate identity direct from someone, and assume their persona."

    So, hackers in China will pay $3000.00 for a persons identity, but in the US, companies that give users identities away in a data breach argue that victims have not suffered any damage or monetary loss.

    The Lobby is strong in the Land of The Free.

    (Free as in free credit monitoring)

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: There’s no point in hacking systems to steal strangers' identities to use for nefarious purposes

      Equifax victims should really take those $3000 as a base value for their identity (potentially worth more depending on curriculum)...

      Why should your identity be worth less than that of some Chinese farmer?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: There’s no point in hacking systems to steal strangers' identities to use for nefarious purposes

        >Why should your identity be worth less than that of some Chinese farmer?

        Because every hacker from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar already has yours from a previous hack

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There’s no point in hacking systems to steal strangers' identities to use for nefarious purposes

          I think I remember reading several years ago that my identity could be purchased for somewhere under $10 - sure it is probably a lot less than that now.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the photo?

    I always thought that *they* could tell each other apart.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: What about the photo?

      "I always thought that *they* could tell each other apart"

      China is a HUUUGE country and the western idea of 'typical Chinese' is based on the southeast coast / Hong Kong / Taiwan type of Chinese person - relatively short, rounded features. Chinese people from the hinterland, North and west tend to have a lot of variations in height, build, facial structure etc.

      Even with that in mind, out of 1.4 billion people, for a typical Chinese person there's probably still tens of thousands of other people who look alike enough to pass a casual passport photo inspection.

  5. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge
    Big Brother

    $3K per ID

    Seems expensive compared to stealing IDs in bulk using computers. I suspect it may rather stem from innocent Chinese farmers' IDs not being on any computers in the first place, so phishing the farmers is not an option. On the other hand, going after the IDs of people who are online is extra risky because of intensive government monitoring - one prefers a valid ID of a rural nobody who is of no interest to the authorities.

    Pure conjecture on my part, of course.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: $3K per ID

      Ah, but you have FULL details.

      I wonder how much my IDs of previous countries of residence are worth? After what's in a name. Most are common, even with same DOB. As people in NY discover who are taken to court for OTHER PEOPLE'S driving offences! Stupid NY cops only use name + DOB, not any unique qualifiers.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: $3K per ID

        They must have a way of confirming someones identity, even in the UK they won't let on your way if they can't verify who you are.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: $3K per ID

          "even in the UK they won't let on your way if they can't verify who you are"

          Not true. I've been, *ahem*, lectured by cops in UK for, let's call them low-level misdemeanors. No ID was ever asked for, just a stern talking to and sent on my way. In my country of birth (where government-issue IDs are 'de riguer'), similair situations also resulted in a stern talking to and being sent on my way, but the cops DID ask for ID.

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            Re: $3K per ID

            Was you drunk and being told to go away (Because your Kebab and its Curry sauce was getting on their shoes)?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I was a lad, it was illegal for an English policeman to ask you who you were or what you were doing, unless he first told you of some plausible reason he had for asking (a nearby burglary, for example. Back in the day when they used to investigate them).

    It was also illegal for soldiers to carry loaded weapons on the street, and I've seen police arrest soldiers for that offence.

    I've no idea whether either of those laws still apply :(

  7. Jonathan Richards 1

    A to Z

    Zimbabwe has left the chat

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