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Vietnam’s computer users are at high risk of being attacked by ransomware, according to a recent cybersecurity report.

Over the weekend, computer networks in more than 150 countries were infiltrated by a malicious virus called WannaCry, which affected some 200,000 systems all over the world, according to NBC news affiliate WFLA. WannaCry is classified as ransomware, encrypting the entire computer’s data once infected and extorting its owner for money to unlock the device.

Vietnam-based cybersecurity center Athena Infosec told Thanh Nien that 10 private companies in the country have so far requested their help in getting rid of the ransomware. Most were asked to shell out between US$300 and US$600 or two to seven bitcoins to regain control of their data. If owners failed to comply within 48 hours, hackers increased the amount to eight or nine bitcoins.

Another internal report by Vietnamese tech firm BKAV, which produces anti-virus software, also shows that hundreds of computers in Vietnam have been infected with the virus. While the situation in Vietnam is less severe than elsewhere, BKAV warned that things could potentially get worse, as up to 52% of computers in Vietnam contain EternalBlue, a Microsoft-based fault that was exploited by WannaCry to hijack the devices.

Vietnam is at high risk of a large-scale WannaCry infection, director of Athena Infosec Vo Do Thang told Thanh Nien. Usually, hackers access potential victims via email with malicious attachments. Opening these files, which usually masquerade as a Microsoft Word or Excel document, will grant the ransomware code access to the owner’s device.

[Photo via Quartz]


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