Google Claims Malware Targets Vietnamese Activists

According to The New York Times, Google claims it has detected cyber attacks aimed at squelching critics of a Chinese-backed bauxite mining project in Vietnam.

Google engineer Neel Mehta says the attacks are not as sophisticated as the attacks that hit Google and other companies earlier this year.

We have gathered information about a separate cyber threat that was less sophisticated but that nonetheless was employed against another community.

The command and control servers associated with this Vietnamese botnet may have used some of the same domains as the Google attacks, but McAfee believes that the Vietnamese botnet is not related, reports Computerworld. Says McAfee CTO George Kurtz:

We believe that the perpetrators may have political motivations and may have some allegiance to the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the malware infected “potentially tens of thousands” of computers, spying on the users and attacking Internet sites that contained messages of political dissent.

The news follows reports that several journalists and activists in China had their Yahoo e-mail accounts hacked and that Google’s Chinese search engine was intermittently blocked.

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