Vietnam denies involvement with cyberattacks

Government dismisses what it called "groundless" accusations that it used malware to intimidate opponents of a mining project in Vietnam.

The Vietnam government dismissed what it called "groundless" accusations that it was involved in recent cyberattacks used to intimidate opponents of a mining project in Vietnam.

Malware disguised as a popular Vietnamese-language keyboard driver was used to create a botnet that targeted blogs rallying against a bauxite mining project in Vietman, according to blog posts from Google's Neel Mehta and McAfee Chief Technical Officer George Kurtz.

"The perpetrators may have political motivations and may have some allegiance to the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," Kurtz said in his blog.

"The comments are groundless," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga said in a statement posted to the Ministry's Web site Monday. "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 antivirus and malware regulations and information security and confidentiality."

The botnet and malware were discovered by the two companies during an investigation into the causes of the cyberattacks directed at Google and more than 30 U.S. companies late last year, which prompted Google's showdown with the Chinese government over censorship. However, the Vietnamese attacks do not appear to be related to the Google attacks, Kurtz said.

About the author

Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.

 

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