EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.14.10

Chinese Google ‘Attack’ Involves Microsoft Windows Flaws

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 8:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

China satellite image

Summary: It is not Google’s fault but Microsoft’s fault that China managed to compromise accounts not just of Google but of over 20 other companies, by Microsoft’s own admission

YESTERDAY we mentioned Google’s reaction to attacks from China, which are now confirmed to be targeting different companies. It was not something against Google as Google is one among several victims and some people doubt there will be an exit from the largest Internet market.

How would leaving the Chinese market actually prevent Chinese crackers from connecting to Google servers? It would not.

Hacking Risks Persist Even If Companies Withdraw From China

Google and other enterprises still face a bleak computer security landscape that makes their companies vulnerable to hackers, whether they do business in China or not, analysts say.

Perhaps the most interesting revelation, which was found buried deep inside reports, is the role of Windows in these attacks on Google. Check this one out for example: (the emphasis in red is ours)

More sources are now claiming the Chinese government is behind the recent cyberattacks against Google and 33 other Silicon Valley companies, reports security firm Verisign iDefense. The attacks, revealed yesterday via a posting on Google’s official blog, were hacking attempts on the technology infrastructure of Google and other major corporations in sectors that included finance, technology, media and chemical, said Dave Girouard, president of Google Enterprise.

[...]

While July’s attacks were detected early and were largely uneventful, December’s attacks did find some success. In addition, these same sources claim that the files in both cases share similar characteristics. For example, both attacks used a backdoor Trojan in the form of a Windows DLL, and both share two similar hosts for the command-and-control (C&C) communication. In layman’s terms, if the cyberattack was a ground assault during a war, the C&C would be the general barking out the orders. Also in both incidents, the IP addresses used for C&C are in the same subnet and only six addresses apart from each other. That means both attacks are likely to have been instigated by the same entity and may imply that the recent victims’ technology infrastructure has been compromised since July.

When one in two Windows PCs is said to be a zombie PC, the above should not be surprising. This was a targeted attack which must have relied on China activists’ use of Microsoft Windows.

As the name suggests, the carefully crafted assaults differ from the net-cast-wide malware most often seen. A targeted attack specifically selects its victim and generally sends an e-mail using that person’s name and perhaps business title. The body of the message might reference an attached list of business contacts, or describe it as an invoice, or use any other hook that would allay suspicion and convince the victim to double-click the attachment.

Real activists do not use Windows and should use GNU/Linux. A few moments ago, our reader Jose added information that confirms the above. It’s an AP article titled “Microsoft’s browser flaw exposed Google to hackers” and it says (in the opening): “Microsoft says a security flaw in its Internet Explorer browser played a role in the recent computer attacks against Google and at least 20 other companies.”

In other news, a bank server has just been compromised and Baidu got hit by the same group that exploited Windows botnets to take down Twitter [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. We mentioned this story here and there’s more from The Register:

The same group that used a DNS attack to hijack Twitter last month has defaced the home page of Chinese search engine Baidu.

Surfers visiting Baidu site on Monday night were confronted by the message “This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army”, together with an image of the Iranian flag. Early speculation suggests the attack involved changing Baidu’s DNS records rather than a direct attack on the site itself, but this remains unconfirmed.

Baidu — unlike Google — was not a victim of customers who use Windows. Google should tell customers that it’s not Google that’s vulnerable; it’s Windows. Customers should therefore rethink their platform preferences. The same already goes for banks, for similar reasons.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

13 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    January 14, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Gravatar

    “Check this one out for example: (the emphasis in red is ours)”
    That is not enough evidence, as it do not say anything about security holes in Windows being used.
    But turned out that flaws in IE was indeed used in the attacks, again by MS’s own admission:
    http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/01/microsoft-warns-of-ie-security-flaw-used-in-google-attacks.ars
    And technically IE is indeed part of Windows, though other web browsers work on Windows too that do not have the flaw.
    But Adobe was partly to blame too:
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9144378/Hackers_used_rigged_PDFs_to_hit_Google_and_Adobe_says_researcher

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It seems like a case of “double-click to execute” in Windows, invoking proprietary software that’s vulnerable (opening of a file leading to system compromise).

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    Nope, it did turned out to depend on a real security vulnerability, but if that was true, it would not be MS’s fault at all (unless a stupid feature like AutoPlay was used), and that is my point.

    your_friend Reply:

    Not a Microsoft flaw? Was it a Mac Botnet? A GNU/Linux botnet? An OpenSolaris or BSD botnet? How about a botnet within Google’s own servers? I don’t think win32.dll will run in any of those others. Only Microsoft computers have this kind of problem. Nailing down the exact causes of these massive attacks will be like naming ants, there are too many security problems in Windows to begin to make sense of it and the botnet masters use them all.

    Windows needs to be taken off the web before it ruins the web for everyone.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    Indeed, I was not claiming that the botnet runs on anything other than Windows, I was trying to say that just because that it runs on Windows doesn’t mean MS is to blame. Now it did turned out MS is indeed partly to blame, I was just saying that the cited evidence was not enough.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    “Was it a Mac Botnet? A GNU/Linux botnet? An OpenSolaris or BSD botnet? How about a botnet within Google’s own servers?”
    Yes, these are all in theory possible, which is why assigning blame properly is so important.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    Now, whether this flaw warrant a switch away from Windows would be a different matter, but I will say that it would warrant a switch away from IE, not Windows. After all, IE gets security flaws almost all the time, and do people switch away from Windows because of it? No, of course not, since you can run other browsers on Windows.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I have an update on this:

    Adobe Flaw Wasn’t Part of Attack on Google

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/187043/adobe_flaw_wasnt_part_of_attack_on_google.html?tk=rss_news

  2. NotZed said,

    January 15, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Gravatar

    I’d like to see google show some real nuts and ban microsoft products from their services, if they are the real basis of the problem.

    (TBH, I don’t have much sympathy with anyone using Microsoft Windows and being taken advantage of – in an informed world they have some responsibility for their dumb decisions too.)

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    Ten and eleven years ago, there were quite a few university IT departments which started to ban Microsoft products. You can see now how technical decisions were overridden with organized crime-like methods.

    Microsofters were complaining that University educated engineers and technical staff, ” someone on team fresh out of college”, knew better than to run Microsoft products. See slide 2:
    http://groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=ComesExhN04#E9346

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    This reminds me that we ought to do more Comes-derived posts pretty soon. I’ve been sent some pointers to yet-undiscovered smoking guns.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    In this case, it is an IE flaw, and Google is already encouraging a switch away from IE.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks. I shall do a followup post.

What Else is New


  1. Patents Roundup: Accenture Software Patents, Patent Troll Against Apple, Willful Infringements, and Apple Against a Software Patent

    A quick look at various new articles of interest (about software patents) and what can be deduced from them, especially now that software patents are the primary barrier to Free/Libre Open Source software adoption



  2. Software Patents Propped Up by Patent Law Firms That Are Lying, Further Assisted by Rogue Elements Like David Kappos and Randall Rader (Revolving Doors)

    The sheer dishonesty of the patent microcosm (seeking to bring back software patents by misleading the public) and those who are helping this microcosm change the system from the inside, owing to intimate connections from their dubious days inside government



  3. Links 25/9/2016: Linux 4.7.5, 4.4.22; LXQt 0.11

    Links for the day



  4. Patent Quality and Patent Scope the Unspeakable Taboo at the EPO, as Both Are Guillotined by Benoît Battistelli for the Sake of Money

    The gradual destruction of the European Patent Office (EPO), which was once unanimously regarded as the world's best, by a neo-liberal autocrat from France, Benoît Battistelli



  5. Bristows LLP's Hatred/Disdain of UK/EU Democracy Demonstrated; Says “Not Only Will the Pressure for UK Ratification of the UPC Agreement Continue, But a Decision is Wanted Within Weeks.”

    Without even consulting the British public or the European public (both of whom would be severely harmed by the UPC), the flag bearers of the UPC continue to bamboozle and then pressure politicians, public servants and nontechnical representatives



  6. Released Late on a Friday, EPO Social 'Study' (Battistelli-Commissioned Propaganda) Attempts to Blame Staff for Everything

    The longstanding propaganda campaign (framing staff as happy or framing unhappy staff as a disgruntled minority) is out and the timing of the release is suspicious to say the least



  7. Links 23/9/2016: Latest Microsoft and Lenovo Spin (Now in ‘Damage Control’ Mode)

    Links for the day



  8. White Male-Dominated EPO Management Sinks to New Lows, Again

    Benoît Battistelli continues to make the EPO look like Europe's biggest laughing stock by attempting to tackle issues with corny photo ops rather than real change (like SUEPO recognition, diverse hiring, improved patent quality, and cessation of sheer abuses)



  9. Journalism 102: Do Not Become Like 'Managing IP' or IAM 'Magazine' (the Megaphones of the EPO’s Management)

    Another look at convergence between media and the EPO, which is spending virtually millions of Euros literally buying the media and ensuring that the EPO's abuses are scarcely covered (if ever mentioned at all)



  10. Journalism 101: Do Not Believe Anything That Benoît Battistelli and the EPO's Management Say (Also Don't Fall for the UPC Hype)

    A survey/review (or an overview) of recent articles about the EPO and why they're wrong (mostly because they parrot the official lies from Battistelli's department)



  11. Patent Law Firms, David Kappos, and IAM 'Magazine' Still Shelter Software Patents by Cherry-Picking and Lobbying

    Amid the gradual collapse of software patents in the United States there are disingenuous efforts to bring them back or maintain a perception that these patents are still potent



  12. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Going Places and Suing Microsoft Rivals, Microsoft Wants More 'Linux Patent Tax'

    Microsoft-connected patent trolls like Larry Horn's MobileMedia are still attacking Microsoft rivals and Microsoft wants more money from Korea, after it attacked Linux with software patents over there (notably Samsung and LG)



  13. Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

    Links for the day



  14. Links 22/9/2016: Red Hat's Latest Results, GNOME 3.22 Released

    Links for the day



  15. The Patent Law Firms in the US Relentlessly Lobby for Software Patents Resurgence by Placing Emphasis Only on Rare Outcomes

    Decisions against software patents continue to be ignored or intentionally overlooked by patent law firms, which instead saturate the media with the few cases where courts unexpectedly rule in favour of software patents



  16. Links 21/9/2016: Lenovo Helps Microsoft Block GNU/Linux Installations

    Links for the day



  17. Like Big Tobacco Lobbyists, Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC Are Just Chronically Lying and Manipulating Politicians With Their Lies

    Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC continue to meddle in politics and mislead the public (through the press) about patent quality as well the UPC, which is now in effect sunk inside the ashtray of history



  18. The EPO's 'Investigative' Function is Totally Out of Control and Continues to Get Bigger, Whitewashed by So-called 'Review'

    An update on the situation which still causes great unrest at the European Patent Office (EPO), namely abuse of staff by the so-called Investigative Unit (Eponia's equivalent of unaccountable secret services)



  19. Microsoft and Patent Law Firms in the United States Can't Stop Writing About McRo in a Coordinated Push to Resurrect Software Patents

    Microsoft is pursuing more Linux 'patent tax' (using software patents) and patent law firms are preoccupied flooding the media with their shameless self-promotion which is also software patents promotion



  20. For Abuse Like Plagiarism and Malpractice, the US Patent System is Still World Champion

    Low patent quality, abusive litigation (e.g. by patent trolls) and various other elements that globally discredit the USPTO are only symptoms of a wider problem, which is a greedy system motivated by neo-liberal values rather than professionalism and servitude



  21. Links 20/9/2016: GNOME 3.22 Preview, Absolute 14.2 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Links 19/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC7, KDevelop 5.0.1

    Links for the day



  23. Patents Roundup: Disclosure Requirements, Mobile Patents, Patent Lawyers' Plagiarism, USPTO Getting Sued, and Corporate Domination of the Patent System

    The unwanted elements of the patent system (as it stands at present) illuminated by very recent news and patent court cases



  24. With or Without the UPC (Which Will Probably Never Happen) Battistelli is Crushing the EPO and Ejects Experienced Staff, a Future Without Examination Possible

    A pessimistic but probably realistic take on what is happening at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is undergoing a silent transformation so wide-ranging that stakeholders deserve to know about it



  25. When EPO Liar-in-Chief Benoît Battistelli Defamed His Staff in Parliament, Comparing Them to Nazis and Criminals

    A reminder of the audacity of Benoît Battistelli, who in his capacity as a politician -- a problem in its own right -- slanders EPO staff



  26. After McRO v Namco Case (at CAFC) the Patent Microcosm Works Overtime to Produce Pro-Software Patents Propaganda, Smear the Supreme Court

    Increasingly desperate to convince people to pursue software patents and/or use their software patents to initiate growingly risky lawsuits (high risk of losing), the patent microcosm hugs McRO v Namco while distorting the complete record of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on this subject



  27. Poor Quality Control at the US Patent Office Gives Birth to 'Unpatent' and Gives a Voice to Critics

    The USPTO must up its game on patent quality (not relying on PTAB and the courts correcting its errors after the grants) or face growing backlash that tarnishes its public image



  28. Patent Trial and Appeal Board Under Attack by Law Firms, Which Will Soon Infiltrate It in the Form of 'Bar Association'

    The vultures that are patent law firms keep circling around PTAB and hoping to destroy it, if not from the outside then from the inside, potentially regressing and ruining great progress for US patent quality since Mayo and Alice



  29. EPO President Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC Are Still Lying, Don't Believe a Word They Say

    A rather bulky rebuttal to some of the latest misleading statements from EPO management and law firms that wish to expand/advance their own careers at the expense of the integrity of the European patent system



  30. Links 18/9/2016: Emacs 25.1, Slackel 6.0.7

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts