Malware using AI could appear in 2019, experts say

December 28, 2018 | 11:27 am GMT+7

Experts from BKAV Corporation, the Vietnamese cybersecurity firm, have predicted that malicious codes using AI may turn up in Vietnam in 2019 under the form of PoC (proof of concept).


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In 2018, the damages caused by computer viruses to Vietnamese users reached a record VND14.9 trillion, or $642 million, an increase of 21 percent compared with 2017, according to BKAV.

Globally, cybercrime causes losses of $600 billion annually, or 0.8 percent of global GDP. Of this, the loss in East Asia is estimated at $20-200 billion, equivalent to 0.53 - 0.89 percent of the regional GDP. 

The loss of $642 million, equal to 0.26 percent of Vietnam's GDP, is not high compared to the region, but it is an alarming record.

BKAV said that more than 60 percent of agencies and businesses in Vietnam were infected with cryptocurrency malware. Six out of every 10 agencies and businesses reported being hijacked.

The problem is attributed to weak solutions applied by agencies and enterprises. They do not equip all of their computers with comprehensive anti-virus solutions, so if just one computer gets infected with malware, all of the other computers of the same networks will also be attacked.

Cryptocurrency malware not only can slow computers down, but can update and download more malware to erase data, steal personal information, or conduct APT (advanced persistent threat) APT attacks.

Over 1.6 million computers in Vietnam reported losing data in 2018. Meanwhile, 46 percent of users who joined BKAV’s cybersecurity assessment program said they had troubles related to data loss.

Two kinds of popular viruses that make Vietnamese lose data are ransomware and viruses that erase data on USB.

Ransomware is spread out mostly through emails. 74 percent of Vietnamese users still have the habit of opening attached files from mails, instead of opening files in a safe environment Safe Run.

Since USB is the most popular means of data exchange in Vietnam, the number of computers infected with malware via USB is high. Up to 77 percent of USBs in Vietnam are infected at least once a year.

BKAV experts have warned that malware using AI may come out in 2019, possibly under the PoC form. However, the biggest threat to internet users will still come from ransomware, cryptocurrency malware, and APT attacks.

These types of malware can be used in different ways in combination to maximize their spreading capability. The most commonly used way is exploiting software flaws and operating systems and the use of forged emails.

In 2017 and 2018, the number of security vulnerabilities in software and applications increased dramatically by 2.5 times compared with previous years.