Vietnam police hunt hackers behind mass outage

Websites linked to VCCorp were hit by malware in one of the country's biggest-ever attacks

Vietnamese cybersecurity authorities are hunting hackers believed to be responsible for the country's biggest-ever online attack last week, according to the founder of a security website in Hanoi.

"This is the biggest cyber-attack ever in Vietnam, affecting the Vietnam security community," Tran Quang Chien of SecurityDaily.Net wrote in an email. "This was a targeted malicious attack."

The incident that began Oct. 13 saw the outage of multiple websites under Vietnam Communications (VCCorp), an Internet company in Vietnam that owns more than 20 websites such as news portal Dan Tri.

The news sites affiliated with VCCorp came back online, but some others took a number of days to recover. The outage was first described by VCCorp as a data center glitch.

Hackers used malware to erase all data in about 800 servers under VCCorp, according to Tran, who estimated the total damage from the attack at 10 billion Vietnamese dong (US$464,000).

The attack was more destructive than previous hacks in Vietnam, which tended to only deface sites or publish user information, he said.

Most affected websites in the Oct. 13 attack displayed the message "Data center is experiencing problems. Please come back later," according to Tuoitrenews, an online news portal.

In one example of the lingering effects of the attack, online payments website Sohapay.vn was for some time redirecting traffic to a blog containing defamatory statements about VCCorp, Tran said.

The VCCorp main website was not accessible on Thursday. The company did not respond to a request for more information.

VCCorp has a large ecosystem of online and mobile services in Vietnam, with products related to online content, e-commerce, social media, ad networks and mobile services, according to IDG Ventures Vietnam, which invested in the company in 2007.

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Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
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