First Vietnamese denial of service hacker arrested

In what looks to the be the first denial of service (DOS) arrest in Vietnam, a hacker who flooded a commercial Web site and reportedly caused tremendous loss, was arrested last Friday when local police tracked him down.

Nguyen Thanh Cong was arrested almost a month after he began to attack a fledgeling e-commerce site, www.vietco.com, and brought it to its knees.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based firm started its Web site in early February, looking to auction cell phones and other electronics goodies, hoping to be ready to take on eBay, which will launch in Vietnam towards the end of the year.

According to local media reports, the site attracted around 67,000 regular users in its first month, before the site was hit by waves of DOS attacks, which started on March 3.

After Vietco told the media it was under attack, Internet security companies rushed to help out. BKIS, Vietnam's top security software provider, is reported to have helped gather valuable information for police investigation.

Nguyen Tu Quang, BKIS' director, said that the hacker built up a strong botnet network in Vietnam, adding that he used a Trojan leading to a well known porn Web site, which was known to have exploited security flaws in Internet Explorer.

Cong - aka DantruongX of the Lovely Baby hacker group - then used the site to launch a zombie applet from his Geocities Web site, which ordered all available PCs to access the Vietco Web site on a repeated basis.

Just to make life interesting, Vietnamese press reports over the weekend suggest that Cong is linked to a gang forging ATM cards, and that the police are also investigating this link,

Phung Minh Bao, Vietco's director, is quoted as saying he originally hired Cong to design the Web site, although he left the project half way through its implementation phase.

Commenting on the saga from afar, Graham Cluley (fx: touches forelock, for it is the man), Sophos' senior technology consultant, said that the malicious attack caused serious financial damage to the company and major inconvenience to innocent computer users.

"This arrest will come as a relief to law abiding Web users and acts as a strong warning to other would be hackers," he added.

According to Cluley (fx: curtsy), the Vietnamese police should be commended for taking action, but authorities must also educate the general public about safe computing to better combat the increasing sophistication of internet hackers...