SecureWorks uncovered a new botnet targeting Vietnamese dissidents with distributed-denial-of-service attacks.
Hacktivism has appeared again in the cyber-world, this time starring dissidents in Vietnam.
According to SecureWorks, a new Trojan is being used to launch DDoS
(distributed-denial-of-service) attacks against blogs and forums
criticizing the Vietnamese Communist Party. Joe Stewart, SecureWorks'
director of malware research, reported a botnet dubbed Vecebot is
responsible for the attacks.
This is not the first time cyber-attacks have targeted dissidents in Vietnam
Earlier this year, controversy arose when Google and others reported
finding a cyber-crime campaign focused on silencing criticism of a
Chinese-backed mining operation. According to Stewart, there is
evidence the same group is behind both attacks.
"Earlier this year, there were similar attacks against some of these
same targets by another bot known as 'Vulcanbot'...One of the targets of
both the Vulcanbot and Vecebot attacks is x-cafevn.org," Stewart wrote
in his report on the attacks
"In addition to the DDoS attacks, there have been intrusions into the
server that hosts x-cafevn.org and the computer of the administrator.
The forum's user database and administrator's personal details
(including personal e-mails) were posted to a Website by the
pro-communist hacking group where the hackers claimed responsibility
for the earlier 2010 hacks, as well as their reasoning and a message
directed to what they consider to be 'reactionary' sites."
Vecebot was deployed just days before what was supposed to be
the Oct. 19 prison release of a Vietnamese blogger known for
criticizing the government, Stewart noted. This could be
suggestive of a collaborative effort between the Vietnamese
government and the author of the attack to stifle criticism, though there is no definitive
he wrote. The prisoner, whose real name is Nguyen Van Hai but who blogs
under the name "Dieu Cay," was never released, according to media
"We definitely think we will (see more of these types of
attacks), as we are already seeing politically motivated DDoS
attacks occurring right now against political sites in Brazil," Stewart
said. "A Black Energy Botnet
is being used to launch these attacks."