"No Web site is one hundred percent safe" says Xiao Chen, the leader of group which was operated from a bare apartment on a Chinese island.The apartment has cement floors and almost no furniture. What they do have are three of the latest computers. They are cautious when it comes to naming the Web sites they have hacked.
Accordin There are Web sites with high-level security, but there is always a weakness".
Likely to be intelligent 20-somethings who seem harmless. But they are hard-core hackers who claim to have gained access to the world’s most sensitive sites, including the Pentagon.
Along with his two colleagues, he does not want to reveal his true identity. The three belong to what some Western experts say is a civilian cyber militia in China, launching attacks on government and private Web sites around the world.
One hacker says he is a former computer operator in the People’s Liberation Army; another is a marketing graduate; and Xiao Chen says he is a self-taught programmer.
"First, you must know about the Web site you want to attack. You must know what program it is written with," says Xiao Chen. "There is a saying, ‘Know about both yourself and the enemy, and you will be invincible.’"
In fact, they say they are sometimes paid secretly by the Chinese government — a claim the Beijing government denies.
One of the biggest problems experts say is trying to prove where a cyber attack originates from, and that they say allows hackers like Xiao Chen to operate in a virtual world of deniability.
And across China, there could be thousands just like him, all trying to prove themselves against some of the most secure Web sites in the world.