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China faces data leak as hackers for hire pose risks

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TLDR:

• A massive data leak from Chinese cybersecurity firm i-Soon exposed hacking exploits and intelligence operations

• The leak highlights the risks of outsourcing state spy operations to private contractors

A massive data leak from Chinese firm i-Soon has revealed alleged hacking exploits and intelligence operations, shedding light on the risks associated with outsourcing state spy operations to private contractors. The leaked data, which appeared on GitHub, showcased China’s reliance on private firms for cyber operations, similar to Western practices. This incident has sparked discussions on the blurred lines between security and military functions in the cyber realm, and the challenges of regulating cyber mercenaries. The fallout from this leak will likely lead to a reevaluation of China’s approach to cybersecurity and the role of private security firms in maintaining plausible deniability in state operations.

As China grapples with the repercussions of this data breach, questions arise about oversight of cybersecurity operations and the potential for a “Snowden effect” in China. The leak also underscores the expanding market for cyber warfare and the challenges of distinguishing between legitimate cybersecurity firms and cyber mercenaries. The fallout from this incident will likely shape China’s future approach to cybersecurity and the role of private contractors in maintaining national security.

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