Google Calls Out Hackers for Cyber Attacks on Vietnamese Blogs

google vietman cyberattackAfter tussling with the Chinese government over censorship issues and sophisticated cyber attacks, and rerouting its Chinese-language search engine through Hong Kong, Google (GOOG) is ramping up its role as global monitor of censorship-related cyber attack issues.

From its crows nest atop the Web, Google weighed in Tuesday on a cyber attack that pummeled Vietnamese blogs expressing opposition to a controversial bauxite mining project.

Computer users in Vietnam who downloaded Vietnamese keyboard language software found themselves the victims of vicious malware, Google noted in its security blog posting. With an army of infected computers potentially in the tens of thousands, the hackers launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack designed to shut down blogs opposed to the mining project. Local residents fear the mining will cut a swath of environmental destruction through the primitive forests of Vietnam's Western Highlands.

For Google, censorship and cyber attacks are sensitive topics.

"In January, we discussed a set of highly sophisticated cyber attacks that originated in China and targeted many corporations around the world. We believe that malware is a general threat to the Internet, but it is especially harmful when it is used to suppress opinions of dissent. In that case, the attacks involved surveillance of email accounts belonging to Chinese human rights activists. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these are not the only examples of malicious software being used for political ends," Google noted in its security blog.

Indeed they are not. Just ask President Obama, whose 2008 campaign files were hacked.

(Click here for a timeline of DailyFinance's coverage of the Google/China dispute.)

Political and financial gain are big lures for malicious hackers, and such attacks are unlikely to subside anytime soon. Denial of Service attacks can cripple Web sites, potentially leading to a loss in revenue, but the use of software to steal financial information or sensitive files can have much longer lasting effects, note security experts.

"People should be definitely careful when they download software. They should check to see that its from an official company and that it has previously been written about or audited," advised Thomas Kristensen, chief technology officer for security firm Secunia.

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