Two website hijackings this week that resulted in Google’s Vietnamese homepage and Lenovo’s website being redirected to other pages were the result of a Malaysian domain registrar’s servers being hacked, several tech websites reported Thursday.
The reports said hackers targeted Webnic.cc, which is the registrar for Google’s Vietnamese search engine and Lenovo’s site. In the separate attacks, the web addresses associated with the sites were changed, sending internet users to another webpage apparently controlled by a third party.
Many people who typed “google.com.vn” into their browsers Monday found themselves looking not at the Google homepage, but at the photo of a stranger with the caption, “Hacked by Lizard Squad.”
The Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC) sought to reassure people that there had been no cyber attack on Google itself, nor on VNNIC.
VNNIC, run by the Ministry of Information and Communications, said it “was not attacked, and continues to provide access to .vn domains as usual.”
Hackers might have tampered with the domain name system (DNS) servers for several reasons. They could find a way to profit if the site they attacked had valuable data, or they could show off their hacking skills in going after a well-known website.
“Google would be the highest profile target in Vietnam,” said Tomo Huynh, a former engineer at a network security company. “Since Google was the only account affected at VNNIC it leads me to think this was targeted instead of opportunistic.”
The Vietnam’s Google site was down for just a few hours Monday, but it was enough to scare some users into thinking their data could be hijacked. One man said he started changing passwords and deleting sensitive materials.
“Google services for the google.com.vn domain were not compromised,” said Amy Kunrojpanya, a spokeswoman for Google Asia Pacific. “We’ve been in contact with the organization responsible for managing this domain name and the issue should be resolved.”