At 4.11 pm of July 7, when accessing Dan Tri newspaper at dantri.com.vn, readers would see the words “Ban hay thuc hien phep tinh de tiep tuc su dung bao Dan Tri” showing that the access was denied.
Dan Tri was just one of the many online newspapers hacked in recent days under a large scale DDoS offensive of the hackers.
The hacking made a lot of newspapers inaccessible. Some readers still could access websites, but they had to try many times and wait with patience.
Internet security experts have commented that the attack might have been well prepared for a long time, because it was conducted in a very methodical way.
HVAOnline, a security forum, reported that since July 4, Thanh Nien, Tuoi tre, Dan Tri, VietNamNet, Kenh 14 have been the victims of the DDoS attacks, noting that the number of hacked online newspapers is on the rise.
It is estimated that each of the newspapers incur the DDoS attack capacity of 50-70 Mbps, while the capacity was up to 1.3 Gbps for some newspapers.
To date, some newspapers have fixed the problems, but the access remains unstable.
According to Vo Do Thang, Director of Athena, an Internet security training center in HCM City, the current attack power would be unbearable to the small online newspapers. As such, the hacking would cause serious consequences, especially if it lasts for a long time.
The experts said hackers purposely attacked the server of VDC 2 (the Vietnam Data communication Company) where the servers of many online newspapers are located. As a result, not only the VDC 2’s server, but the newspapers’ servers also suffered.
HVAOnline said the forum itself and many other forums, information portals in Vietnam also incurred many DDoS attacks, but at weaker intensity.
In fact, experts said the attacks began in June 2013 already at low intensity, which could be the preparation for the “general offensive” in July.
They believe that the hackers may belong to a big and powerful organization to be able to mobilize such large botnets and zombies for the large scale attack.
The hackers reportedly timed their attacks in their way. After finishing one attack aiming to one goal, they began the attack to another goal. After that, they unexpectedly returned and attacked the first aiming point. This way of hacking might make readers and the newspapers’ administrators misunderstand that the newspapers got troubles, while they did not think of a DDoS attack.
Buu Dien newspaper on July 11 quoted the Director of an Internet security firm as saying that the firm, after analyzing the attack, found out that the attack was originated from an IP in Vietnam.
BKAV’s Nguyen Minh Duc said two days ago that BKAV has not received any request for help from the hacked newspapers.
A Symantec’s report in 2011 said that Vietnam has become the favorite space of the world’s hackers, and that it is the biggest botnet in the world. One of the reasons behind this is that Vietnamese don’t install anti-virus software on their computers, and they have the habit of installing cracked software pieces, or downloading some software products from unreliable websites.