Ransomware rises 200 percent in Vietnam: Google

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Ransomware rises 200 percent in Vietnam: Google

A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. Photo: Reuters

Ransomware increased nearly 200 percent in Vietnam in July 2021 compared to early 2020, according to a report by Google’s VirusTotal service.

This report, which reviewed 80 million ransomware samples from 140 countries, said that more than 130 families of ransomware were activated from 2020 to July 2021.

Among these ransomware programs, GandCrab was the most powerful, accounting for 78.5 percent of the samples.

“Israel, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, India, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Iran, and the UK are the 10 most affected territories based on the number of submissions to VirusTotal,” according to the report.

Windows accounted for 95 percent of the ransomware targets mentioned in the report, compared to two percent for Android.

This has happened in Vietnam and around the world as people have become used to working online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exposing themselves to more risks in cyberspace, especially from ransomware or phishing emails, the report said.

After infiltrating personal computers or business systems through phishing methods, ransomware encrypts data files on the devices and demands ransom in digital currency.

Victims cannot decrypt information to recover data encrypted by ransomware.

In fact, ransomware is not a new security risk in Vietnam but there has been a continuous increase in the number of attacks and the level of danger in recent years.

In January-August, there were 5,082 cyberattacks that caused information security problems in Vietnam to jump 25.82 percent over the same period last year, according to data from the Vietnam National Cyber Security Center.

In May 2021, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky warned that the number of users attacked by targeted ransomware climbed 767 percent compared to 2019.

Two groups of targeted ransomware that were the most famous at that time were Maze and Ragnar Locker, which not only encrypted but also stole data, then threatened to make the confidential data public if the victim failed to pay a ransom.

However, WannaCry is still the most common ransomware, which targets tens of thousands of users and typically only requires the victims to pay a relatively small amount of money to get their data back.

Targeted ransomware attacks will likely continue to be on companies and large organizations, Fedor Sinitsyn, a security specialist at Kaspersky, said on its website.

“That means ransomware attacks will continue to become more sophisticated and more destructive,” the expert warned.

“It’s imperative that businesses adopt a holistic, comprehensive set of security practices to protect their data,”

Ngo Tran Vu, director of Ho Chi Minh City-based NTS Security Company, advised that enterprises should conduct cybersecurity drills to be ready for possible cyberattacks in the future.

Business owners must always keep an eye on the latest trends of cyberattacks to update their response capacity and continuously encourage employees to report suspicious findings.

Particularly for individual users, Vu recommends regularly updating security software, paying attention to warnings from such software, protecting online data by using strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and installing reliable security solutions for all communication devices, including mobile phones.

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