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Hackers take out 156 Web sites in Vietnam

A hacker group calling itself "revengetheplanet" has attacked 156 Web sites hosted by Vietnam's largest ISP and monopoly Internet...

A hacker group calling itself "revengetheplanet" has attacked 156 Web sites hosted by Vietnam's largest ISP and monopoly Internet gateway provider, Vietnam Data Communications (VDC).

A foreign Internet services company in Vietnam monitored the intrusions. The company did not want to be publicly named as authorities have accused it of collusion in this attack and an earlier attack in August that erased 60 VDC-hosted Web sites.

The hackers, believed to be US-based, replaced the contents of the mainly Government-linked Web sites with abuse about the weak level of Internet security maintained by VDC. Many of the hacked sites were down for 10 hours, as the hackers were also able to erase poorly-secured backup content.

Apart from a number of VDC's own sites, the hackers hit VDC-hosted sites belonging to Vietnamese government organisations such as the State Security Commission, the Communist Party umbrella group Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Education and Training. The hackers said they left alone a VDC-hosted site called Cuu Tro Tre Em Tan Tat (Handicapped Children Relief).

Vietnam has five state-owned ISPs, of which VDC, a subsidiary of the telecoms monopoly carrier Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications, is the largest. VDC also controls the country's Internet gateways. All Web sites in the country must be hosted on Government-approved servers, and there are strict regulations defining what content is acceptable.

The Vietnamese government has approved plans to create an "electronic government" using the Internet, and has also said it wants to open up the Internet services market to private companies.

The Government has said it encourages private Internet use and urges businesses to use e-commerce. Currently, around 0.2% of Vietnam's population have Internet subscriptions, and Web sites set up in Vietnam number only a few hundred.

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