Google attack driven by amateur, not Chinese government

12:07, March 04, 2010      

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The cyber attacks that targeted Google Inc. were carried out by “amateur-level” botnets -- networks of computers commandeered by hackers -- according to U.S. security company Damballa Inc.



"I would say this particular botnet group was not well funded, in which case I would not conclude they were state sponsored, because the level of the tools used would have been far superior to what it was," said Gunter Ollmann, vice president of research at Damballa, an Atlanta-based company that provides computer network security.

Earlier this year, some critics alleged that the attacks were sponsored or condoned by the Chinese government. Qin Gang, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference February 23: "I would like to emphasize that the accusations that say the government supports hacking activities are groundless and are of ulterior motives."

On the face of it, research by Damballa supports what Qin said.

What Damballa researchers found in the Google attack botnet was less '007' and more 'DIY,' using software that could be found and downloaded widely on the Internet. "This team launching the attack were unsophisticated amateurs," Ollmann said.

He added, "Some of the codes within the malware were at least five years old" -- ancient, by software development standards. The attackers used technology "that had been abandoned by professional botnet operators years ago."

By People's Daily Online/Agencies
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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90852/6908720.pdf