The 2018 Kaspersky Security Bulletin, published last week, ranks Vietnam the second hardest hit country by cryptomining attacks between January and October, with 13 percent of all cybersecurity attacks in this period launched by cryptominers.
Kazakhstan ranked first at 16.75 percent, followed by Vietnam, then Indonesia at 12.87 percent and Ukraine at 11.9 percent.
Cryptomining refers to solving complex computational math problems to produce cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. It typically requires a great deal of computational power to do so, so the work is often done by using powerful computer hardware like graphic cards.
Some cryptominers infect other users’ computers to harvest their computing power and mine cryptocurrencies instead. The miners usually find their way to computers and corporate machines using adware, hacked games, and other pirated content, the report said.
"The more freely unlicensed software is distributed, the more miners there are. This is confirmed by our statistics, which indicates that miners most often land on victim computers together with pirated software."
Content piracy and copyright infringement are still rampant in Vietnam, partly due to high licensing fees and a lack of effective law enforcement, the report said.
Also according to the Kaspersky report, legislative control over cryptocurrencies has had little impact on the spread of hidden mining. While the Vietnamese government never legalized cryptocurrencies, it was still among the most targeted countries for cryptomining attacks.
Vietnam is particularly vulnerable to cryptomining malware due to its weak cybersecurity, speakers had said at a regional conference in September.
The country suffered over 6,500 cyber attacks in the first eight months of this year.
Nguyen Trong Duong, Director of the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team, said during a cybersecurity conference in Hanoi earlier this year that cyber criminals were switching from spreading ransomwares, which encrypt users’ data and prevent them from being accessed unless a ransom is paid, to spreading cryptocurrency mining malware. This was happening as institutions and organizations had successfully developed countermeasures against ransomwares, he added.
Malware cost Vietnam VND12.3 trillion ($540 million) in losses last year, according to Bkav, a Vietnamese cybersecurity corporation.