Computer Crime Research Center


Student hacker arrested

Date: October 14, 2008

Investigators say a high school student from the central province of Quang Nam has been arrested for allegedly hacking into local websites earlier this month.

Authorities have declined to reveal the age or identity of the student who has admitted to hacking into several popular websites including, and, between October 5 and 8.

He was arrested at his house on Friday and a personal computer, reportedly used to carry out the attacks, was also confiscated.

An investigation by the Ministry of Public Security’s Hi-tech Crimes Prevention Department (C15) and the Bach Khoa Internetwork Security Center (BKIS), revealed the student had also asked friends to release viruses through their USB flash drives at game and Internet shops.

From there, the viruses spread creating a network of 1,000 botnets – a collection of compromised computers running software, usually installed via worms, Trojan horses, or backdoors, under a common command-and-control infrastructure.

The network then became a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack – an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users.

A Vietnam Security online forum suggested that BKIS – the country’s leading Internet security center – had also been a target of hacking, though the center’s representative has denied it.

Vu Ngoc Son, head of BKIS’s Virus and Internet Security Department, told local media that access to the company’s website had been interrupted due to problems during an upgrade.

BKIS Director Nguyen Tu Quang, meanwhile, said that access to the site on October 8 was interrupted because

BKIS had created a system to trap the hacker.

With this system, if a user continues to refresh a page when trying to access BKIS’s website, the user will have his or her IP address blocked, Quang said.

This serves as a temporary solution to stop the attack as continuous refreshing is interpreted as an abnormal action and a possible attempt at a DDOS, according to Quang.

The hacker apparently left information identifying himself after attacking BKIS’s website, Quang said. After reports that BKIS’s website had been paralyzed by a DDOS on October 5 and 8, a hacker named P. reportedly boasted on an online forum that he was responsible for carrying out the attacks and that he could destroy any website he wanted.

BKIS then cooperated with C15 in identifying the culprit and determined the hacker’s location.

Refusing to reveal the hacker’s identity, Quang said the hacking may have been an impulsive action and that the student has yet to comprehend the gravity of his wrongdoings.

Head of C15, Tran Van Hoa, said there are indications that cyber crimes are on the increase.

In November, the National Assembly will approve a draft of the revised Criminal Law, according to Hoa.

If approved, hackers caught spreading viruses or taking control of and paralyzing computers or networks will be fined VND20 million – 200 million (US$1,225-12,257) or may face time in prison from one to five years, Hoa said.
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