User with classified data access sold Defense Department information, documents

A Department of Defense official with top-secret security clearance allegedly provided an official working for the Chinese government with classified department data and documents.

According to a Department of Justice announcement, officials have charged James Wilbur Fondren Jr., deputy director for the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Washington Liaison Office, with espionage conspiracy for providing classified information to an agent of a foreign government. Fondren sold information to a Taiwanese-American man in the form of “opinion papers” that included classified DoD data via an at-home consulting business he ran on the side, according to the affidavit filed this week.

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A year ago, when a Time Magazine reporter told Tan Dailin that he’d been identified as someone who may have hacked the Pentagon, he gasped and asked, “Will the FBI send special agents out to arrest me?”

The answer, it turns out, was, “No, the Chinese government will.”

Dailin, better known in Chinese hacker circles as Withered Rose, was reportedly picked up last month in Chengdu, China, by local authorities. He is now facing seven years in prison under a new Chinese cybercrime law that was passed in late February.

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It’s a great deal, if you’re a spammer.

You pay US$700 to use a server in China that lets you send all the spam you like. It’s called bulletproof hosting, and to the people who fight spam and cybercrime it’s becoming a big problem.

Cybercriminals use these services not just to host servers, but also to register Internet domain names that they use for spam and online attacks. In a three-month period this year, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham traced more than 22,300 domains, all used to send online pharmaceutical spam, to just six bulletproof computers hosted in China, ….

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