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.”


  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • US’ Cambodian ambassador appointment blocked

    The US Senate returned the nomination of Patrick Murphy as Ambassador to Cambodia back to US President Donald Trump on Thursday, as the American government shutdown entered its third week. The US Senate website announcement said it returned Murphy’s nomination as ambassador as his

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million