Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malware vulnerability high in Kingdom, report notes

Malware vulnerability high in Kingdom, report notes

People surf the internet at a café in Phnom Penh last year. A report by Microsoft has found Cambodia to be highly vulnerable to malware and other cyberthreats. hong menea
People surf the internet at a café in Phnom Penh last year. A report by Microsoft has found Cambodia to be highly vulnerable to malware and other cyberthreats. Hong Menea

Malware vulnerability high in Kingdom, report notes

Cambodia is among the most vulnerable countries in Asia when it comes to viruses, spam, spyware and other cyberthreats, according to a recent report from Microsoft.

Approximately one in four computers running Microsoft security products in Cambodia reported encountering malware in the first quarter of this year, according to the company’s global security intelligence report, released August 17. That’s more than double the global average of 9 percent, and twelve times the rate in Japan, where only 2 percent of computers reported a malware encounter.

Within Asia, only Bangladesh and Pakistan had more run-ins with malicious software, according to the report, which found that developing Asian countries were among the world’s most vulnerable.

Microsoft Asia spokesman Andrew Pickup said that was largely due to pirating software.

“There is a well-established link between software piracy and the presence of malware,” Pickup said in an email. “And piracy rates are generally higher in the emerging markets of Asia than other parts of the world.”

Phnom Penh-based cybersecurity consultant Niklas Femerstrand said that many Cambodians still have their software set up by shops, which often install pirated and outdated versions of Windows, leaving their computers vulnerable to viruses and other malware.

And internet penetration is still young, meaning many users are not experienced at learning how to handle malicious links, according to Femerstrand. “Unfortunately, learning that usually comes from experience, and developed countries are still struggling to keep up with new methods of tricking users,” he said.

In March and April this year, both opposition and ruling party politicians fell victim to hackers who exposed text messages, emails and social media accounts to the public.

Femerstrand said it is as crucial for Cambodian users to learn how to distinguish malicious links from harmless ones as it is to keep software up to date. Unfortunately, he said, purchasing a legal copy of Windows – roughly $100 – as well as quality antivirus software, is financially unfeasible for many Cambodians.

In its report, Microsoft also recommends that users avoid working in public Wi-Fi hotspots, choose strong passwords and enforce corporate security policies.

Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications spokesman Meas Po declined to comment yesterday before hanging up.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused

  • PM sets tourism reopening as centrepiece of ATF 2022

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged ASEAN to reopen tourism and trade now that many of the bloc’s member countries have vaccinated their populations. Speaking at the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 (ATF 2022) in Preah Sihanouk province on January 18, the premier also said ASEAN has a