Information Warfare: Caught In The Cookie Jar

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November 12, 2009: Another Chinese firm has been caught stealing American software. A U.S. computer security firm, Malwarebytes, inserted some phony data in their database of malware (hacker software used to steal computer data), which is used to keep this stuff out of users PCs. They then found a Chinese computer security firm, IObit, using that phony stuff in the database they were selling with their security software.

This is not the first time a Chinese firm has been caught stealing. Earlier this year, the Chinese government notified all companies selling computers in China that, as of July 1st, they had to install new filtering software (Green Dam Youth Escort). This was mainly an effort to prevent Chinese, especially children, from having access to pornography, although Green Dam could be used to block anything. Green Dam basically controlled Internet access to the PC it was installed on. Green Dam checked with a government database (of banned web sites) before allowing the user to actually visit any site. Within a few weeks of the Green Dam announcement, an American software publisher, Solid Oak Software, accused the Chinese of theft. Turns out Green Dam is based on the Solid Oak product Cybersitter software, and there's plenty of incriminating evidence in the Green Dam code.

Most Chinese businesses, including most of the big ones, use pirated copies of American software on most of their PCs. U.S. software firms protest to the Chinese government, and nothing happens.

 


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