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This 12-story building houses a Chinese military unit allegedly behind dozens of cyberattacks on U.S. and other Western companies. It's in a modern, if bland, part of Shanghai. (AFP/Getty Images)

Life Of A Chinese Hacker: Work Is Awful, Pay Is Lousy, Boss Doesn't Understand

Mar 13, 2013

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Following up last month's news about reports that tie hackings of American defense contractors' websites to operations run — or at least encouraged — by the Chinese government, the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday told the tale of a Shanghai man who used to blog about his work in a People's Liberation Army hacking unit.

If the stories from this blogger — whose family name is Wang, but who blogged as "Rocy Bird" — are true, the Times writes, the hacking life was "all about low pay, drudgery and social isolation."

According to the Times, its reporters "tracked down Wang and his blog through an email address that was listed on a published 2006 paper about hacking. ... [He] did not return several emails and instant messages requesting comment."

The security firm that reported about hacking last month tells the Times that Rocy Bird's posts from 2006-2009 "provided the most detailed first-person account known to date of life inside the hacking establishment" and that it's likely not much has changed in the four years since.

A few details from the blog, via the Times' report:

— Rocy Bird complained about being told to improve his English skills, and then being criticized for reading too many English-language magazines. "The boss doesn't understand," he wrote.

— At a school reunion, the hacker "felt ashamed to say hello" to old classmates because his pay was much less than theirs.

— His unhappiness showed through right from the start. " 'Fate has made me feel that I am imprisoned,' he wrote in his first entry on Sina.com. 'I want to escape.' "

Related posts:

— "A Chinese Army Outpost That's Tucked Into Modern Shanghai."

— "Who's Been Hacked By China? Better Question Might Be: Who Hasn't?"

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