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Licadho, MRC hit by ‘ransomware’ viruses

A screenshot from Kaspersky Lab's Cyberthreat real-time map ranks Cambodia as the world's 50th most-attacked country as of yesterday evening.
A screenshot from Kaspersky Lab's Cyberthreat real-time map ranks Cambodia as the world's 50th most-attacked country as of yesterday evening.

Licadho, MRC hit by ‘ransomware’ viruses

Computers at rights group Licadho and the Mekong River Commission were infected with so-called “ransomware” viruses in the past several days, employees of both organisations said yesterday.

Mathieu Pellerin, a consultant with rights group Licadho said the virus was detected on two of the organisation’s computers but has been removed.

“This is the first time we’ve been infected by ransomware,” he continued, noting that there was no reason to believe it was a targeted attack.

“This is a reflection of the global spread of such malicious software,” he said.

Yesterday, leading cyber security firm Kaspersky ranked Cambodia as the 44th-most cyber-attacked country.

Ian Thomas, a former MRC employee, said he had gone to clean out his desk three days ago when he noticed the infection on folders within the MRC network.

Sokong Ann, an IT assistant at the MRC, said the infection was accidental and under control. “It’s not a hack,” he said.

Ransomware locks up information in the infected network and demands a ransom payment to unlock it, usually in the form of a digital currency such as Bitcoin.

According to Niklas Femerstrand, an independent cyber security expert working in the Kingdom, ransomware first appeared around 2007 and made its way to Cambodia about two years ago.

To protect against it, he said, it is best to keep all software up to date and change passwords regularly.

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