Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian virus maker fails to boot infamous rep

Cambodian virus maker fails to boot infamous rep

Cambodian virus maker fails to boot infamous rep

Ngov Seng Vannak was a 20-year-old student at Build Bright University when he climbed to notoriety two years ago as the first Cambodian to unleash a computer virus in the country.

Named the BBU virus after the university in Phnom Penh where Vannak was majoring in information technology, the virus blazed its way through computers in the capital, causing thousands of machines to operate slower than usual.

Today, Vannak remains in Phnom Penh working with management information systems and although the virus affair is largely water under the bridge, the Kampong Chhnang native remains cautious about repercussions; he declined to have his workplace named due to lingering sensitivity.

Vannak’s virus was the harbinger of Cambodia’s expanding virus-creation industry, driven largely by curious youth out to test their skills. He says that since late 2006 five viruses have been created by students at BBU or the National University of Management, although he denies any further involvement in their creation.

“I don’t have any plan to create something new because I don’t have the time,” he told the Post.

As a student, though, Vannak had time to create the malicious software as well as “test” it on BBU computers for three months until the university rector forced him to sign a contract sparing the school. The BBU virus was then let loose on the general public.

“It was just my research and a way to test my knowledge, and because there was no one creating viruses in Cambodia,” says Vannak, adding, “I think that I can do it as well as those in other countries.”

Vannak says the BBU virus did not bring him any benefits and he regrets the decision to make it because it destroyed many good programs.

Kheng Vantha, web designer for Expat Advisory Services and creator of Khmer Anti-Virus, says it is much easier to create a virus than block one.

“It only takes one or two weeks to make a virus but creating an anti-virus is difficult because we have to find the code of the particular virus.

“I know how to make a virus but I won’t to do it because I want to be famous in a good way,” he says. “I don’t want to be an infamous person.”


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all