Feeds

US software firm hacked for years after suing China

Solid Oak nearly went under after three years of persistent attack

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A Californian software company which sued the Chinese government for pirating its flagship content filtering product has revealed how it was targeted by hackers from the People’s Republic for the three years of the resulting legal proceedings.

Santa Barbara-based Solid Oak Software filed the civil lawsuit against China after discovering thousands of lines of code from its parental filtering CYBERsitter had been lifted and used to develop the Green Dam Youth Escort – Chinese software which was originally intended to be rolled out nationally by the government.

Just 12 days after Solid Oak founder Brian Milburn went public with his intentions, the hackers began targeting his employees with a view to infiltrating the company, gleaning intelligence about the court case and disrupting sales as much as possible, Bloomberg reported.

“It felt like they had a plan,” Milburn told the newswire. “If they could just put the company out of business, the lawsuit goes away. They didn’t need guys with guns or someone to break my kneecaps.”

The attackers made initial incursions with spyware hidden in malicious email attachments and were soon able to remotely control PCs and switch on webcams to spy on individuals. They also apparently went after Solid Oak’s law firm in the hope of lifting documents which they believed may have helped in the upcoming court case.

Solid Oak’s web and email servers were also targeted, frequently crashing several times a day, and the small family-run business dived into the red as customers looking to buy the software online were not able to complete their transactions thanks to some tinkering with the script that controlled payment processing, Bloomberg said.

Forensic investigators told the newswire that the malware and attack toolkits they found on Solid Oak’s network and servers were unique to Chinese hackers known as the Comment group – a gang fingered for attacks on Coca Cola and others revealed earlier this month.

In the end Solid Oak survived by the skin of its teeth, with Milburn and his staff forced to share documents on webmail and Dropbox in an attempt to thwart their foes.

Within two months of a settlement in the case , the attacks reportedly stopped. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.