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Washington Mulls Visa Restrictions to Prevent Chinese Nationals from Attending Popular US Hacking Conferences

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Washington is considering restricting visas to prevent Chinese nationals from attending popular hacking conferences this summer in Las Vegas, a report by Reuters on Saturday said.

The decision is part of a broader offensive against Chinese cyber espionage, according to the report, which cited an anonymous senior administration official.

Washington could use the restrictions to keep Chinese from attending the August Def Con and Black Hat events in the wake of charges being laid against five Chinese military officers for hacking into US companies to steal trade secrets.

While organizers of the conferences said they knew nothing about these efforts being considered by Washington, Jeff Moss, founder of Def Con and Black Hat posted on Twitter that he had heard of it and doesn’t “think it helps build positive community.”

Attendees agree that the efforts are inappropriate, and that it will be difficult to prevent Chinese from attending Def Con, based on its effort to maintain the anonymity of its attendees (organizers only take cash and badges have no names).

Other options Washington is considering to increase pressure is to release new evidence about the alleged hacking operations.

Last year, a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that ongoing Chinese cyber espionage could be putting US cloud services and those who use them at risk.

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