The lead article in today’s New York Times, “U.S. Case Offers Glimpse into China’s Hacker Army,” is disconcerting because you quickly realize that there isn’t much difference between Chinese and American hackers; it’s only a matter of where the money comes from. The moniker “UglyGorilla” is the type of label used by hackers everywhere to sound cool or strike fear in the hearts of their victims.
Of course, the Obama administration has tried to portray itself as more moral than China because it only engages in political hacking, not hacking to reveal commercial secrets. Yet even in this regard, the targets of American hackers can be just as amorphous as those of the Chinese.
What is clear however is that the American culture values creativity and individuality more than the Chinese, so China is constantly struggling to keep up. And U.S. companies deserve to be protected from theft of their own thought product, otherwise copyrights mean nothing in an international marketplace.
The indicted Chinese hackers are now enjoying a measure of fame, or infamy, with FBI wanted posters and newspaper articles describing their “accomplishments.” I wouldn’t hold your breath for any arrests, however. China values its hacker army because without it, their economy would remain stalled in the past not the future.