The malicious software used in the cyberattacks on numerous Vietnamese websites since late June has been sent from a website whose domain name is a copy of that of the Vietnamese Communist Party, a local Internet security firm said on Monday.
The websites of national carrier Vietnam Airlines and many other entities, including state organizations, businesses, banks, research institutes and universities, have all been compromised by the same malware, Hanoi-based Bkav said on its web page.
The hackers, believed to be members of China’s 1937cn group, have managed to “penetrate deeply into the systems of the affected platforms, in the guise of antivirus software, which has enabled them to stay undetected for a long time,” Bkav wrote, citing its malware analysis unit.
The malicious software is capable of stealing information from the affected databases and enables the hackers to remotely control those systems.
The stolen data was repeatedly sent from the attacked websites to the hackers’ server, via the domain xxx.dcsvn.org, which is a copy of the website of the Communist Party of Vietnam, according to Bkav analysis.
The ‘xxx’ part is replaced by the name of the affected entity. The Vietnamese name of the Communist Party is Dang Cong San Vietnam, or DCSVN for short.
This diagram illustrates how the malware works. Photo: Bkav
Bkav said it had released a new tool to scan for and remove this type of malware, which is available for download at Bkav.com.vn/ScanSpyware.
On July 29, in addition to compromising and stealing the information of more than 410,000 VIP members from the website of Vietnam Airlines, the alleged Chinese hackers also took control of the flight information announcement and loudspeaker systems at two major airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The flight information screens displayed offensive messages about Vietnam and the Philippines, and a distorted account of the East Vietnam Sea dispute.
The attacks came hot on the heels of an international court ruling against Beijing’s groundless claims in the East Vietnam Sea on July 12.
China has since made a string of actions to oppose the award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which denied Beijing’s claims to the strategic naval thoroughfare, through which more than US$5 trillion in global trade passes each year.