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Hackers Get Personal With Bespoke Malware Attacks

Just before Christmas, two staff members at the Electronic Frontier Foundation received e-mails that contained links they were fortunate not to click. Under the subject line “Oxfam Conference,” the message from someone named Andrew Oxfam appeared to contain an invitation and meeting information. At a glance, it would seem to be related to the antipoverty organization Oxfam International.

Instead, a click on links in the e-mails would have downloaded malicious software and enslaved the target computer to a command server used in attacks related to Vietnam, a country whose Internet censorship the EFF has criticized. “This marks the first time we have detected a targeted malware attack against our organization by what appear to be state-aligned actors,” the San Francisco-based EFF said in a new report about attacks on itself and others that have worked on Vietnamese issues.