US Considers Blocking Chinese From Major Security Conferences

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Chinese might not be allowed at Def Con or BlackHat, following US charges against PLA members

America may consider stopping Chinese nationals from attending some of the most prestigious information security conferences in the world, following the charges filed by the US against alleged People’s Liberation Army hackers.

Visa restrictions may be used to prevent Chinese from attending Def Con and BlackHat, both taking place in early August, a senior administration official told Reuters.

Chinese ban?

China © Stephen Finn, Shutterstock 2012A number of Chinese security experts are scheduled to present at the event, including members of private firm Qihoo 360 and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Five Chinese nationals – Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui – were charged for alleged cyber espionage on a number of US organisations. China subsequently denied the charges, said America was carrying out cyber espionage on Chinese firms and asked the US to rescind its claims.

The unnamed official said the US was frustrated in its attempts to curb Chinese hacking. “We’ve tried to have a constructive dialogue. The State Department and the Defense Department have travelled to China to share evidence of hacking by the (People’s Liberation Army), but those types of interchanges have not sparked a lot of progress or reciprocity,” the official said.

Many in the security industry have reacted angrily to the reported ban. Jeff Moss, founder of both Def Con and Black Hat, said over Twitter he didn’t think it would help “build positive community”.

“This will have NO effect on the flow of information. It is pointless and spiteful,” said Marc Rogers, director of security operations at Def Con.

Others, including Trend Micro’s Rik Ferguson and security professional Valdes Nzalli, said the move was racist.

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