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Vietnam launches campaign to reduce malware

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has launched a campaign to review and remove malware nationwide this year. It aims to enhance the country’s network security.

The campaign intends to reduce the malicious code infection rate by 50%. It also aims to cut the number of Vietnamese IP addresses in ten popular botnets – a collection of internet-connected devices infected by malware that allow hackers to control them – in half.

The National Digital Transformation Program, approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in early June 2020, notes that ensuring network safety and security is key to digital transformation. All IT equipment, products, software, information systems, and investment projects have mandatory components on network safety and security. The ministry has clarified cyber safety and security as aprerequisite for e-government development and digital transformation.

According to security firms, malware infection in Vietnam has decreased but remains high when compared to other countries. Statistics showed that the country has about 16 million IPv4 addresses, of which about three million IP addresses are regularly blacklisted by many international organisations, while two million IP addresses are regularly found in botnets.

The campaign will allow people to use malware prevention software for free. A representative from the ministry’s Department of Information Security said the campaign is for businesses and home network systems and equipment. The group accounts for most of the IP addresses. The campaign would also contribute to improving the country’s reliability in e-transactions, thus promoting socio-economic development and contribute to ensuring national defence and security.

The department would work with VNPT, Viettel, CMC, FPT, BKAV, and Kaspersky to implement the campaign. The project would assess ten major botnets that need to be treated with priority, build, and deploy tools on a large scale, whereby users get free downloads to inspect and remove malicious code from their computers.

After the campaign, the department will evaluate results and plan future campaigns accordingly. The campaign has been implemented in all provinces and cities from the local to the central level, through specialised IT units of ministries, branches and localities, state groups and corporations, and commercial banks and financial institutions.

Additionally, it has received support from organisations, corporations, and major security firms such as Kaspersky, Group-IB, FireEye, F-Secure, and ESET. The campaign has been implemented gradually. The ministry hopes it will achieve positive results, contributing to clean malware from Vietnam’s cyberspace. This will help ensure safety for transactions of agencies and enterprises, as the country is accelerating digital transformation towards the development of digital government, digital economy, and digital society.

In August this year, the Department of Information Security recorded 517 cyberattacks on information systems (199 phishing cases, 160 deface attacks and 158 malware attacks), falling 0.77% over the previous month. The number of Vietnamese IP addresses in botnet networks is over 2 million, a decrease of 0.03% compared to July. The number of recorded cyberattacks, warnings, and the number of botnet IP addresses showed a slight decrease in the last three months.

The decrease was due to the department continuing to strengthen the recording, warnings, and instructions on information security. However, cyber attackers have still taken advantage of concerns about the pandemic to increase the spread of malicious code. The number of IP botnets compared to the same period last year was still at a high level. To ensure network security, the department will strengthen the monitoring and active scanning of the country’s cyberspace.

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