Along with a surge in the number of mobile phone users accessing the Internet, there has been an increase in the number of mobile malware targeting Vietnamese users, according to the global cybersecurity company Kaspersky.
According to the Digital 2022 report conducted by We Are Social, the number of mobile phone users accessing the Internet grew by 147 per cent year-on-year last year.
Kaspersky, meanwhile, reported that it detected and prevented a total of 43,171 mobile attacks targeting Vietnamese users last year, 46.9 per cent higher than in 2020. Trojan is the most common threat in Việt Nam.
While Việt Nam and Thailand saw growth in the number of malware attacks, the rest of Southeast Asia observed a downward trend in the number of attacks on mobile users thanks in part to Kaspersky’s efforts to block more than 2,000 mobile malware per day.
Specifically, Indonesia decreased by 0.9 per cent, Malaysia decreased by 30.59 per cent, the Philippines decreased by 38.85 per cent, Singapore decreased by 15.85 per cent, and Thailand increased by 130.71 per cent.
Indonesia was the country with the highest number of mobile malwares with 375,547 attacks discovered. This is also the third year it has been ranked first in Southeast Asia since 2019.
Malware, short for malicious software, is a file or code, typically delivered over a network, that infects, explores, steals or conducts virtually any behaviour an attacker wants.
Research from Kaspersky also shows that, although mobile malware decreased globally in 2021, it is becoming more sophisticated in terms of both malware functionality and vectors.
Additionally, in terms of mobile banking malware, Việt Nam ranked first with 697 attacks detected, 131 cases more than in 2020.
Indonesia and the Philippines also saw the growth of mobile banking malware. Thailand, however, had an impressive reduction, with 255 cases in 2020 dropping to 28 cases in 2021, a 89 per cent fall.
This could be a positive signal, but users should not act carelessly.
According to another research from Kaspersky, costs incurred due to a data breach in 2021 increased to an average of US$105,000 for small and medium businesses.
Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky, said, “The future is definitely mobile here in Southeast Asia. On the surface, it may seem that cybercriminals are becoming less active because of the decrease in mobile malware attacks. But, this is a global trend and it does not necessarily mean we are safer.
“We have to note that as we embrace digital payment apps more, we unconsciously put more of our hard-earned money in our devices, which remain vulnerable to simple malware attacks. There is a gap between awareness and action here in SEA so I urge digital payment providers and regulators to help us in encouraging users to protect their mobile devices,” Yeo added.
In order to prevent being attacked by mobile malware, Kaspersky recommends users download apps only from official sources, use apps from trusted developers with a good reputation to minimize the chances of encountering malware, ignore apps that promise overly generous prizes, don’t give apps access they don’t need to work, and use a reliable mobile antivirus that will detect and block malware that tries to get inside the phone.