It’s a Botnet Party Vietnam

Published on March 31, 2010
by John Paczkowski

East Asia obviously isn’t taking Google’s principled stand in China very seriously–not that you’d expect it to. Politically motivated cyberattacks in the region continue. The latest to be identified: A botnet intended to silence widespread opposition to a bauxite mining operation in Vietnam run by China’s state-owned mining group, Chinalco.

Though similar to the late-2009 attacks against Google (GOOG), this effort was a bit less sophisticated. Still, it appears to have been politically motivated and perpetrated by folks with some sort of allegiance to the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

“The malware infected the computers of potentially tens of thousands of users who downloaded Vietnamese keyboard language software and possibly other legitimate software that was altered to infect users,” Neel Mehta of Google’s security team wrote in a blog post describing the attack.

“While the malware itself was not especially sophisticated,” Mehta added, “it has nonetheless been used for damaging purposes. These infected machines have been used both to spy on their owners as well as participate in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against blogs containing messages of political dissent.”

Which is frightening, because a number of Vietnamese Internet activists have already been imprisoned for attacking Chinese involvement in the bauxite mining project.

[Image credit: Wikimedia Commons]

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