Vietnam remains malware hotspot

A Vietnamese website is attacked by Philippine hackers, August 6, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HANOI, Oct 8, 2020, VN Express. Some one-third of computers in Vietnam are infected by malware, the National Cyber Security Center has warned following a computer screening campaign. The campaign, which screened over 300,000 computers over three weeks from mid-September, found 100,000 of them infected, VN Express reported.

Out of around 16 million IPv4 addresses in Vietnam, three million are blacklisted by multiple international organizations and two million others are frequently found in major botnet networks, a spokesperson for the Authority of Information Security, which oversees the NCSC, said.

A botnet is a network of Internet-connected devices, each with software running automated tasks on the Internet called bots. Botnets can be used to steal data, send spam or get unauthorized access.

Nguyen Ngoc Thang, a specialist with the NCSC’s R&D department, said the number of malware infection discovered by the campaign was “too small” as reports have shown that as of last year, over 85 million computers in Vietnam have already been infected by malware.

The campaign, which began on September 17, seeks to halve the malware infection rate and remove half the Vietnamese IP addresses from botnet networks, taking Vietnam out of the top of the global malware infection rankings, Ngo Tuan Anh, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Information Security Association, said.

It does so by providing malware detection and removal tools on its website, which is regularly updated. Anyone can access the website and use the tools for free.

Malwares cost Vietnam around VND20 trillion ($862.9 million) in 2019, according to tech firm Bkav. The country also had the highest encounter rate with ransomware in the Asia-Pacific last year, a Microsoft cybersecurity report said earlier this year.

In the first four months of 2020, the Department of Information Security recorded 1,056 cyber-attacks on information systems comprising 553 phishing attacks, 280 website defacement attacks and 223 malware attacks, down 51.4 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

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