Categorized | China, Hacking, US

Chinese Web Vandals Attacking Western Targets

Many of you would have noticed the heavy chatter in the media about China and its atrocities in Tibet. With the oncoming games, people are the world are protesting about the excesses China has been committing.

Apparently, CNN too couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon when one of their hosts trashed China on its harsh policies.

This ruffled quite a few feathers. Besides the Chinese government coming out against CNN, a bunch of hackers planned to get back on CNN by launching a full scale cyber attack against the online presence of news giant.

Every body was waiting for the big event, it was supposed to happen today (Apr 19/08), but then it just petered off. According to the emerging reports, hackers are now saying because of so much media focus, they were forced to call it off.

PC World has a story on this.

A planned cyberattack against CNN’s Web site fizzled out Saturday as the group backing the event called it off. “Our original plan for 19 April has been canceled because too many people are aware of it and the situation is chaotic,” wrote a group called “Revenge of the Flame,” according to a translation posted on the Dark Visitor Blog. “At an unspecified date in the near future, we will launch the attack.” Pro-China hackers had called for the attack in protest of the news network’s coverage of Tibet, which they believe has been overly critical of China. Participants had been instructed to flood CNN’s Web site with Internet traffic in hopes of knocking it offline, something known as a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack.

A lot of people suspect that Chinese govt is behind a recent spate of cyber attacks against Western targets. Business Week did an extensive story about American defense contractor at a high position getting fake emails enticing the reader to download attachments which would then act as a Trojan horse by installing malicious software and emailing all sorts of details back to the vandal.

In my view, the the interesting part of that email was not the malware’s level of sophistication but the social engineering insight displayed that went into crafting the email. For instance, the wording of email was innoxious enough to not raise a red flag. It spoke about a recent defense deal that the company was angling for in India (MRCA for IAF) and had all the seemingly right people in the to/cc list.

It is precisely these kind of threats that the Pentagon had in mind to deflect when it instituted US Air Force Cyber Command. In fact the recruitment ad pegged it at 3 million attacks a day. Sounds improbably high, but who knows.

MEA servers were hacked some time back. Although the Indian government put out a statement saying no critical or sensitive information was compromised, there was no word on what the government is doing to stave off such attacks in the future. Do we have a dedicated command to protect the country’s cyber network.

We have a legion of computer engineers in the country and money should not be a problem given that this issue presents a clear and present danger.

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