John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

It’s a Botnet Party Vietnam, Redux

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry has a message for the thousands of Vietnamese citizens reportedly targeted by politically motivated cyberattacks: There were no attacks.

In a statement posted to the Ministry’s Web site Monday evening, spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga indignantly dismissed accusations that the Vietnamese government has been using botnets to silence opposition to a bauxite mining operation in the country run by China’s state-owned mining group, Chinalco.

“Such comments are groundless,” said Nga. “We have on many occasions clearly expounded our view on issues relating to access to and use of information and information technology, including the Internet. Vietnam law puts in place specific regulations against computer virus and malware as well as on information security and confidentiality.”

Sounds eerily similar to China’s bristling response to Google (GOOG) claims that it had detected a targeted attack on its corporate infrastructure originating in China, doesn’t it?

Which is not to say that the two are in any way linked. At the moment, security researchers say they are not. It’s just that indignant disavowals like these do seem to be the go-to PR strategy in countries where online political censorship to is known to be pervasive.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald