White hat hackers are often looked at a necessary evil, even though these individuals are crucial to any company in the world. Unlike their black hat consorts, a white hat hacker will look for platform or website vulnerabilities to have them fixed before they can be abused. The founder of China’s white hat hacker community has been arrested without prior notice, which is rather disconcerting.
Wooyun Founder Arrest Raises A Lot of Questions
This particular Chinese white hat hacker community, known as Wooyun, was founded by Fang Xiaodun several years ago. Over the years, this group has grown to roughly 5,000 members, all of whom are hacking to make the technological ecosystem more robust. Yet for some reason, Chinese officials have taken offense to what Xiaodun was doing and decided to arrest him.
Things started becoming weird when the Wooyun founder stopped using WeChat as of July 18. Moreover, the Wooyun platform’s website was suspended indefinitely as of July 19 and has not been reactivated since. From the information we have gathered, this decision was not a result of a third-party intervention, but rather an action taken by Wooyun members themselves.
So far, it remains unclear as to why Xiaodun has been arrested, and speculation is running rampant. It is possible the collective got into legal trouble when making some of its findings public. Others claim Wooyun was involved in pen-testing government networks without receiving the authorization to do so.
Neither of these scenarios makes a lot of sense at this stage, though, as Wooyun is a not-for-profit organization which would only make loophole reports public if the involved company decided not to undertake action. Moreover, there is no fee involved in the white hat hacking activities, so it can’t have anything to do with payments or extortion either.
It is worrisome to see the “leader’ of a white hat hacker movement being arrested for no reason. Albeit these types of arrests are not unheard of in China, this puts a worrisome spotlight on the entire white hat hacker community. It remains to be seen how this story will unfold over the coming months.
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