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Vietnam develops tool to detect ransomware

Image credit: Ministry of Information and Communications

A new make-in-Vietnam tool, provided by the National Cyber Security Monitoring Centre (NCSC), can decrypt and identify ransomware and check for malicious files.

The technology, available on an official website, will help individuals, institutions, and businesses ensure their safety in a cyber environment. A press release stated that recent research found that the number of ransomware attacks in Vietnam has decreased but is still high. The country ranks eighth in the world in the number of ransomware-attacked computers. Cybersecurity experts have also repeatedly warned of the appearance of new types of ransomware.

NCSC experts noted that malware and ransomware prevent users from accessing and using the data inside the servers, or computers in general. Attackers will require a ransom from victims in exchange for the right to access the data. However, in many cases, even if the victims pay money, they cannot get back the data.

To help users reduce the risks of ransomware, NCSC has introduced a solution to recognise ransomware. Users can find decryption tools through file extensions or by uploading encrypted files for identification. After finding the results, users should read the instructions for use before downloading and running the tools, the release explained.

The tool for checking malicious files provided by NCSC allows users to check the safety of suspicious files they receive through emails, social networks, or other peripheral devices such as USBs. The tool helps analyse files that are often exploited to carry out attacks such as files with extensions .docx, .xlsx, .pdf, .rar, and .zip (10Mb at maximum).

Users can upload suspicious unknown files or find in NCSC’s database the hashtag codes of the files. After that, the system will analyse the files and provide results on whether the files have malicious code or not.

NCSC experts stated that all the uploaded files will be encrypted after the analyses and erased after a certain time, which ensures users’ privacy. Prior to that, in mid-April, NCSC launched a website that provides technical solutions to help organisations ensure information safety when working remotely.

At that time, on the website, NCSC provided four free tools to support information security: checking botnets, phishing websites, personal account information leaks, and email spoofing attacks. The centre also has documents with the basic requirements of technical features and requirements for configuration settings, offering basic instructions for organisations and individuals working remotely. Based on these requirements, organisations can create plans to ensure safe operations.

The number of ransomware attacks on small and medium businesses’ computers in Southeast Asia decreased from 1.4 million in H1 2019 to 0.5 million in H1 2020.

Recently, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) announced it requested the Prime Minister to clearly define the responsibilities of the heads of mobile network operators that allow ‘trash’ SIM cards to circulate in the market.

The Telecommunications Authority, under MIC, in 2019 told the ministry’s inspectors and local departments to join forces with the police to conduct a large-scale inspection of the management of mobile subscribers across the country in a plan to deal with telecom waste.

Inspectors examined 140 branches belonging to five telcos and telecommunication service points, imposing fines on 12 branches and 21 service points. The inspectors found that the branches and service points sold trash SIM cards with already-declared information of subscribers and already-activated pre-paid mobile services. Users could buy ready-activated SIM cards without having to register or declare their information.

Since June, Viettel, VNPT, and MobiFone, the three largest networks, have stopped selling KITs at authorised agents and revoked the agents’ right to connect subscriber numbers. Instead, they will focus on selling SIM cards and accept subscriber’s information registration at their telecommunication service points.


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