According to a report posted by SecureWorks director of malware analysis Joe Stewart, the botnet created by the "Vecebot" Trojan comprises more than 15,000 bots, most of them in Vietnam.
Politically motivated cyberattacks are becoming more commonplace and sophisticated, SecureWorks observes.
"We have seen DDoS attacks launched against the countries of Georgia, Estonia, and Kyrgyzstan," SecureWorks says. "More recently, we witnessed DDoS attacks launched against government and corporate sites in the US and South Korea."
Currently, there are DDoS attacks hitting political websites in Brazil, Stewart says. "The hackers are using the Black Energy Botnet for these attacks," he says. "The use of DDoS attacks against political targets has moved beyond Eastern Europe."
Vecebot is launching DoS attacks on websites that host blogs or forums containing content that criticizes the Vietnamese Communist Party or recent developments concerning bauxite mining operations by China, Stewart says.
The DDoS attacks began just before the scheduled Oct. 19 release from prison of a well-known Vietnamese blogger who criticized the Communist government and wrote under the name of Dieu Cay, Stewart states. In the end, Cay was not released from jail, and Stewart wonders if the attacks on anti-Communist Party sites might have been an attempt to stifle potential backlash about his further detainment by the Vietnamese authorities.
DDoS attacks and cyber intrusions into several of these same anti-communist blogging sites and forums also occurred in January and February of this year, Stewart observes. Those attacks were carried out by a botnet known as Vulcanbot, which initially was believed to be part of the Aurora attacks against Google, though this notion was later disproved.
SecureWorks has discovered several clues that link the group behind the January-February attacks to the current attacks, Stewart says. "There is some evidence that these current attacks are being perpetrated by a pro-communist hacking group," the report says.
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