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Vietnam facing cybersecurity challenges

With increasing technological developments, Vietnam is facing more cybersecurity risks that are threatening national security,

Nguyen Minh Chinh, director-general of the Cyber Security and High-tech Crime Prevention Department under the Ministry of Public Security, talks to Việt Nam News reporter Kieu Van about the challenges this poses.

Nguyen Minh Chinh, Director General of the Cyber Security and High-tech Crime Prevention Department under the Ministry of Public Security. — VNS Photo Kieu Van

Could you please tell us about the cybersecurity challenges facing Vietnam?

Vietnam has one of the highest growth rates of internet users in the world.

Over two decades since connecting to the global internet, the strong development of information technology, telecommunications and the internet is creating a new opportunity for Vietnam to quickly catch up and take advantage of advanced scientific and technological achievements.

It also helps accelerate the process of industrialisation and modernisation of the country, and deeper integration into the world economy.

According to the department's data, as of January 2019, Vietnam had 64 million internet users, accounting for more than 66 per cent of the country's population, ranking 13th in the world.

Like many countries, Vietnam has been facing threats and challenges from cyberspace, directly threatening national security and social order and safety.

The spread of fake news, bad news, and false information has occurred over cyberspace, affecting sovereignty, national security, social order and safety, infringing upon the rights and legitimate interests of organisations and individuals.

There have been many cyber-attacks of large scale and high intensity, with increasingly dangerous nature and levels.

Many Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) have been launched targeting important information systems of State agencies.

4,000 websites with Vietnamese domain names were attacked and hundreds of thousands of computers were infected with malware in 2019.

Leaks of State secrets, personal data and private lives are becoming more serious and alarming.

Cyber crimes and high-tech crimes in Vietnam are increasing in size, with more sophisticated tricks and more dangerous and serious consequences.

Cyber crimes include hacking social networking accounts, using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services to impersonate law enforcement staff to steal assets and credit card information, and gambling with up to trillions of dong.

How do you value cooperation between the Cyber Security and High-tech Crime Prevention Department with Microsoft?

With the anonymity and cross-border crime in cyberspace, Vietnam has identified threats that have become global problems, requiring the efforts and coordination of nations, and strengthening cooperation between law enforcement agencies and tech corporations.

Over the years, the cooperation between units under the Ministry of Public Security, including the Cyber Security and High-tech Crime Prevention Department and Microsoft Corporation, has made good progress.

The two sides have launched joint programmes and exchanged information to ensure network security and fight against crime, which have achieved good results.

In 2015, the Ministry of Public Security signed a Government Security Program (GSP) agreement with Microsoft Corporation. Since then, Microsoft has regularly shared information about network security with its Vietnamese partner to support national security and combat cyber crime and high-tech crimes in Vietnam.

Due to a change in the organisational structure at the Ministry of Public Security, on December 19, in Hanoi, the Cyber Security and High-tech Crime Prevention Department re-signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the GSP agreement with Microsoft.

As a member of the GSP, Vietnam has access to cyber threats and vulnerability information and a communication channel with Microsoft's security and response teams; source codes for Microsoft products, such as the popular Windows operating system and Office suites; technical data about Microsoft’s products and cloud services; and access to Microsoft's engineers to address specific topics.

What are the Ministry of Public Security’s plans for the future?

Currently, the Vietnamese Government is aggressively directing the implementation of e-government towards a digital government and digital economy, which has achieved positive results.

In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and information technology increasingly being applied by ministries, departments, State agencies and localities, this creates a momentum for the strong development of the economy and society.

GSP cooperation between Microsoft and the department include dissemination to the community, implementing application and enhancing State management of network security.

This helps raise awareness and promotes the application of new technology, replacing old software and removing non-copyrighted software.

In addition, through this cooperation, we will also strengthen the fight against all kinds of crimes including software piracy in Vietnam. VNS

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