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In "Chinese Mafia-Style Hack Attack Drives California Firm to Brink," Bloomberg News' Michael Riley gives a fresh new look to the disturbing case several others previously covered. Brian Milburn, Milburn-DiPasquale's father, wound up filing a civil lawsuit against the People's Republic of China, yet in court he saw no Chinese lawyers and no court documents were filed by the Chinese government.
The voluminous case record at the U.S. District courthouse in Santa Ana contains a single communication from China: a curt letter to the U.S. State Department, urging that the suit be dismissed.
Milburn did get something, however: his computers hacked. That email mentioned at the top arrived in his daughter's inbox 12 days after he declared his intentions to sue China. She dutifully opened an attachment thinking it concerned a business matter. Actually, it contained hidden spyware. It was only later that Milburn-DiPasquale realized that original email address was off a couple letters and security experts traced it back to a team of Shanghai- based hackers that for years had been involved in sensitive national security-related breaches.
Once they were in, the hackers waged a three-year cyberwar against Solid Oak, whose crime in the eyes of Beijing was accusing the Chinese government of misappropriating Cybersitter software for a national Internet censoring project. Solid Oak's website randomly went down, email went undelivered, an employee was spied on through her webcam and company revenues sunk to the point of near-collapse.