Bkav Technology Group has recently announced the results of its research on the security status of routers worldwide, finding that around 300,000 in Vietnam are at risk.

A router is a piece of IT equipment used to transfer data packages through an internetwork to terminal devices, via a process called routing.

Bkav said that since 2014 a lot of security holes on routers have been discovered and publicized. These holes allow hackers to easily hijack the authority of remote systems and are called Pet Hole by Bkav.

The Bkav study revealed there are more than 5.6 million network systems worldwide with Pet Hole, in which India, Indonesia, and Mexico have the most. Vietnam is among the Top 5 countries with the most holes in routers, while most countries in the G8 are outside of the Top 10. More than 90 per cent of all routers are manufactured in China.

“A router is the gateway to the network, so controlling the router means controlling the entire network,” according to the Bkav report. “More than 300,000 systems in Vietnam have holes, which is a potential threat to national security.”

Bkav also revealed that Pet Hole is even more dangerous than Heartbleed - one of the biggest security holes in internet history. While Heartbleed must be exploited successfully by security experts, the exploitation of Pet Hole only requires basic IT skills.

According to Bkav, users ignore the issue because patching Pet Hole is not as simple as merely updating the software.

The main reason lies with router manufacturers. Pet Hole was mentioned in a study announced publicly in mid-2014. Two years later though, when Bkav carried out its research, many of the latest routers being sold do not have updated patches to fix the issue.

A testing tool and guidance for recovery from Pet Hole have been provided by Bkav at PetHole.net. Vietnamese users can use the tool to check their own router systems, including wi-fi modems with an integrated router.