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Car plate auction hacker suspect caught

Shanghai police have taken into custody a man who allegedly hacked into the computer system to paralyze the city's monthly car plate auction last month.

The man, surnamed Zhou, 22, of Zhejiang Province, allegedly hacked into the system during the auction on July 18.

It was the first successful hack attack on the auction since it began 15 years ago.

Zhou allegedly waged Denial of Service (DoS) attacks on the system with thousands of zombie computers he gained control of over time, according to the report.

The police also said the suspect's motive was financial. Zhou bought a car in May this year and he attacked the system in the hope of getting a cheaper car plate.

Zhou was arrested at his home in Anting Township in Jiading District on Sunday after city police spent 22 days trying tracing him through the zombie computers.

DoS attacks simply render a service incapable of responding to requests in a timely manner.
The police said that the car plate auction computer system has improved its security.

Bidders found exceedingly few participants in last month's plate auction and prices were surprisingly low.

Many bid successfully for only 100 yuan (US$14.6), unaware the service was under attacked. The auction was then canceled and all the successful bids were scrapped.

The cancelation angered some bidders who got a cheap car plate and have vowed to sue the service.

The auction was then conducted again on July 26 and the average plate price jumped 2,159 yuan from the previous month to 32,522 yuan.


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