The 'anticnn.exe' program displays a small Chinese flag in the corner of the screen. When the user clicks on the flag, a window appears with a progress bar and a picture of Mao Zedong.
A message displayed above the picture reads: 'It is a red flag action: using rational action to express your patriotism.'
The application then attempts to connect to the CNN website and flood it with HTTP GET requests.
"The Chinese 'hacktivists' seem to believe that, as long as there are sufficient participants, they will be able to succeed in their attack," wrote McAfee researcher Di Tian.
"This attack looks like it will be hard to stop if many 'infected' users intend to get this tool and run it intentionally."
Tian also said that the application could be distributed as a Trojan and spread through common malware channels such as spam, peer-to-peer services and hacked web pages.
The researcher suspects that the attack is a response to criticisms of the Chinese government by CNN reporters and analysts.
"I was not at all surprised," Tian wrote. "The appearance of this malware illustrates how information warfare works and proves that this kind of non-military, non-governmental battle has become an increasingly common phenomenon."
Chinese hackers target CNN
By Shaun Nichols on Apr 29, 2008 7:44AM