Posted March 31, 2010 3:52 pm by with 5 comments

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Google’s already made big waves in the international arena this year by deciding to pull out of China after too many censorship demands and a cyber attack targeting human rights activitists’ email accounts. And now another Asian country might get the same kind of press: Vietnam.

Says Google:

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. Specifically, these attacks have tried to squelch opposition to bauxite mining efforts in Vietnam, an important and emotionally charged issue in the country.

The AP reports that McAfee said the perpetrators may be linked to Vietnam’s Communist government. Similar accusations came about the Chinese government in their cyber attack. The Chinese government denied any involvement.

The Vietnamese cyber attacks were “not especially sophisticated,”
Google said, but like the Chinese attacks, they seemed to target dissidents and opponents to the government. Rather than hacking email accounts, this attack used malware to exploit software that enables Vietnamese users to run windows in their native language.

Naturally, the malware could also potentially target tens of thousands of other users who downloaded the translation software.

All right, let’s play conspiracy theory roulette. Cyber attacks in China eventually lead to redirecting to, which is now being blocked intermittently. Then we see more cyber attacks, targeting several of the most vocal international figures covering the country. And now another communist country sees attack against people who disagree with the government. It could be a massive effort to silence anti-communists—or it could be a massive effort to call attention to people who want to silence anti-communists.


(No, I don’t really think that. I have an overactive imagination.)

What do you think? Are attacks on government dissidents up? Why?

  • Wynne

    These people must be stupid if they think they can silence freedom. It will invariably fail of course.
    .-= Wynne´s last blog ..Why do Local Businesses Still Insist on Using the Yellow Pages for Marketing =-.

  • Mal

    Where is the sniffer trace file or any of the other hard forensic evidence showing the hack
    came from a Vietnam government source? You know in a developing country when an irresponsible
    and unsubstantiated claim like this is made it literally means more children will not get
    donor food and books. Great job Google, you just killed some Vietnamese children. If this
    is Google’s attempt to foster democratic reform in Vietnam you just send it back 2 steps.
    Please think before you speak. “Don’t be evil”. There was a hack on a website that has been distributing a Vietnamese keyboard conversion file for 20 years and it was nothing special. Why would the Vietnamese government NOT want people to be able to use Vietnamese language keyboards?

  • Jason

    If you want to go to really obscure conspiracy theories, these attacks could be instigated at the behest of a company competing with Google with the hope of getting them out of more markets, also… or Google itself trying to get good publicity for doing the right thing (if they thought the benefit would outweigh the cost).

    Both of those, of course, are even more unlikely than your conspiracy theories.

  • wilson

    Hacking has been around as long as computer been exist and it happens everyday. Since hacking from China was proclaim by Google, the issue has become the focus of the media.
    .-= wilson´s last blog ..5 Things You Need To Know Before Starting An Internet Business =-.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Actually, Google never said the government did anything. As it clearly states in the article, Internet security firm McAfee said the perpetrators may be linked to the government in an AP story.

    I find it interesting that you say that Google is jumping to anti-Vietnamese-government conclusions when it seems that stating that this claim “literally means more children will not get donor food and books,” and Google “just killed some Vietnamese children” is doing the same thing. Why would that be the most likely reaction from the government?

    And if it was the Vietnamese government, I think the answer to your last question is abundantly clear: why wouldn’t they want to silence opposition to their bauxite mining plans? No one said that all Vietnamese keyboards will never work again—or even that they stopped working at all. The quote from Google states what the malware did.
    .-= Jordan McCollum´s last blog ..Star Results for Google Mobile =-.