Gov't offices big targets for cyber spying attempts

Vietnam has recently become the main target of a series of large-scale cyber spying activities, such as LURID, Operation Shady RAT and the Byzantine Hades attacks.
Vietnam has recently become the main target of a series of large-scale cyber spying activities, such as LURID, Operation Shady RAT and the Byzantine Hades attacks.

This was revealed by Colonel Nguyen Van Thinh, deputy head of the Department of Cyber Security under the Ministry of Public Security, at the Security World 2015 conference held in Hanoi on March 25.

He said the ministry detected various malwares penetrating computer systems of various governmental and ministerial agencies.

The ministry also discovered that foreign hackers were launching large-scale spying campaigns to attach malware, with nearly 100 different samples, into email systems of the Party, and the government's offices, Thinh said.

“They are targeted attacks that are aimed at officers of the government and the party's agencies. Based on our analysis, the malware with sophisticated design has been inserted into documents and exploits a zero-day hole," he said.

According to Thinh, in 2014 alone, the ministry had discovered that nearly 6,000 Vietnamese online news pages and online news portals were attacked, losing administrative rights and its contents were amended. Out of them, 246 pages were of government's agencies, ending with the domain name

"Especially last year, after China's illegal placement of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 inside Vietnamese waters and its exclusive economic zone, foreign hackers had attacked more than 700 local online pages, and more than 400 online pages on the occasion of the Independence Day on September 2 and inserted distorted content on Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago," Thinh said.

According to the Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2014, there were 1.4 million malware attacks on the Android operating system last year, which was four times higher than 2013. Vietnam was ranked sixth in the top 10 countries worldwide, based on the number of users attacked by malware.

In terms of security risks, Vietnam ranked in the fourth place globally with nearly half of users at risk of malware infection while using the Internet. The country was at the top position with about 70 percent of computer users susceptible to malware and malicious software via USB and memory cards.

Attending the conference, Richard Staynings, Director of Cyber Security Solutions at Cisco Systems, called for standard issuance to ensure privacy and information security in the age of the Internet of Things. He said that the more Internet-connected devices increased, the more security risks we would have, and it would pose a threat to network security both internally and externally at various organisations.

Staynings said the Internet of Things had posed security challenges and there would soon be a need for new ways to control Internet-connected devices.

Themed Strengthening Information to Protect Privacy and Enable Trust in Today's Risk Landscape, the event was aimed at assessing information security threats to organisations and to put forward key initiatives that would help businesses keep pace with constantly evolving threats and security requirements in today's interconnected business ecosystem.

The conference was organised by the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Information and Communications, the IT & Cyber Security Monitoring Centre under the Government Committee for Cipher, in collaboration with the International Data Group in Vietnam.-VNA

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