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Late last week someone began attacks on the California company whose code was illegally used in China’s Green Dam-Youth Escort spyware.

In May the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that computers sold in the country after July 1 must have the Green Dam software installed to block “obscene” and “harmful” information. Researchers have found that the application is aimed at filtering Internet political content as well as pornographic material.

Solid Oak Software Inc. in Santa Barbara, Calif., makers of parental control software CyberSitter, reported attacks on Thursday that required the company to reboot servers.

Marketing manager Jenna DiPasquale said she received an email message with an attachment containing a custom-written spear phishing PowerPoint file. The phishing email also bore a spoofed originating address and carried the signature line that company president Brian Milburn used 15 years ago. Similar emails were caught by filters. They were all individualized in the same way.

DiPasquale said the company suspected the attacks were coming from China and the FBI has been notified.

Solid Oak Software said June 12 that code from its CyberSitter software was used extensively in Green Dam-Youth Escort and sent cease-and-desist letters to U.S. PC manufacturers. DiPasquale also said her company will launch lawsuits in the U.S. and China July 1.

Solid Oak Software has posted a document listing the extensive use of CyberSitter code and even file names in Green Dam (here).

Zhang Chenmin, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering Com of Zhengzhou, China, claimed his company did not use Solid Oak’s code to write Green Dam. “That’s impossible. We didn’t steal their programming code,” he said in a press interview.

Jinhui employees have been receiving harassing phone calls, including death threats.

Sunbelt Software products filter Green Dam as spyware.

For details see:

“Who is attacking Solid Oak, whose code was stolen for Green Dam?”

“Confirmed: Developer of software stolen for Green Dam is under attack”

Tom Kelchner