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Vietnam Raises Its Concern Over Cyber security

Security advisers offer some basic reminders to increase safety online.

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To avoid these health issues little breaks in between long hours are very much required.

At one of An Nguyen’s old jobs in Hanoi, she had a daily ritual: When she wanted to log in to the computer, she had to answer a cybersecurity question such as “What is spear phishing?” or “How does malware work?”

Nguyen did not work in the technology industry, but this was her employer’s way of making sure that all staff had at least a basic understanding of good cyber awareness.

Vietnam could use more people like Nguyen, according to security professionals. They say the country’s small businesses, in particular, do not realize how big a threat they face from hackers or other sources of data breaches.

“Cybersecurity for us, sometimes we are too confident — or maybe we are ignorant,” Nguyen, who has since started her own business, said regarding Vietnamese apathy toward computer security. “So we don’t care much about that.”

But small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should care, cyber professionals say, especially considering the factors that make security risks even more acute in Vietnam. These include the Southeast Asian country’s widespread use of pirated software, the high internet penetration among a tech-loving society without the IT support to match, and the love-hate relationship with China.

Vietnam Office
Small businesses take advantage of co-working spaces like this one, in Ho Chi Minh City, but many haven’t taken steps to protect themselves online. VOA

There are two kinds of people, said Vu Minh Tri, vice president of cloud services at the gaming company VNG, deploying a favorite global cliche — those who have been hacked, and those who do not know that they have been hacked.

“There is a very true saying that there is no company, or no organization, or no computer not impacted by malware,” Tri said. “There’s only organizations, computers, or people not aware the computer is impacted. So all are impacted. It’s just a matter of whether you’re aware or not.”

A new wrinkle in the story comes from neighboring China, with some cyber-attacks believed to be related to its Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to connect many countries from Asia to Europe through infrastructure projects. Research from the security firm Fireeye suggests Chinese hackers may be used either to defend Beijing’s partners in the Belt and Road, such as Cambodia, or to target those that do not play ball, like Malaysia.

Vietnam has taken a cautious approach to the initiative, with some scholars expressing concern about risks like burdensome loans and over-reliance on China. The Southeast Asian country also has reason to worry about potential cyber fallout. In one famous case, Chinese internet protocol addresses were suspected in the 2016 hack of Vietnamese airports, where screens displayed messages challenging Hanoi’s claims in the South China Sea.

“In this digital era, Asia Pacific region has become the largest digital market in the world, creating tremendous business opportunities for SMEs,” Jason Kao, director of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s SME crisis management center, told small businesses at a Ho Chi Minh City workshop his office sponsored last week.

Vietnam Office
Cyber security awareness has not kept up with the popularity of internet cafes in Vietnam. VOA

But not enough of these small and medium-sized enterprises are paying attention to online security, Kao warned.

“Since more businesses use computers to connect their customers and store data, cyber-attacks and data leaks can cause serious harm,” he said.

The cost burden is understandable, though, he added.

On the one hand, a small business might be too little to attract the unwanted attention of hackers. On the other hand, they might be too small to bear the expense of insuring or guarding against attacks.

“As we talk about cost and benefit, we know that we have to buy insurance contracts, we know that we have to protect ourselves,” Nguyen said. “But we don’t have enough resources.”

That is the reason ripped software remains popular in Vietnam, earning it a spot among countries to watch in the U.S. Trade Representative’s report on intellectual property. Thanks to this pirated software, overseas hackers can access Vietnamese computers, which they use in denial of service attacks – sending so many requests to target websites that the sites become overloaded and shut down.

Also Read: Ground Depresseion in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City Taking Place At an Alarming Place

At the same time Vietnam lacks the information technology specialists who can alleviate some of these dangers. By one estimate, the country could face a shortage of one million IT staffers by 2020.

In the meantime, security advisers offer some basic reminders to increase safety online. Do not click on links, in emails or otherwise, if they are even slightly questionable. Use strong passwords and do not reuse them across different accounts. And of course, avoid pirated software to increase your cybersecurity. (VOA)

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VandaTheGod: Researchers Identify Super Hacker With 4,820 Records of Hacked Websites

VandaTheGod is said to hack governments, corporations and individuals

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A super hacker with the name of VandaTheGod was identified by researchers. Pixabay

A super hacker by the name of VandaTheGod who hacked governments, corporations and individuals alike since 2013 has been linked with high certainty to a specific Brazilian individual from the city of Uberlandia.

Researchers at Isreali cybersecurity firm Check Point said they have relayed the findings to law enforcement agencies to enable them to take further action, adding that adding the social media activities on profiles associated with VandaTheGod came to a halt towards the end of 2019.

Since 2013, many official websites belonging to governments worldwide were hacked and defaced by an attacker who self-identified as ‘VandaTheGod.’

The hacker targeted governments in numerous countries, including: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Thailand, Vietnam, and New Zealand.

“Many of the messages left on the defaced websites implied that the attacks were motivated by anti-government sentiment, and were carried out to combat social injustices that the hacker believed were a direct result of government corruption,” Check Point said on Thursday.

VandaTheGod didn’t just go after government websites, but also launched attacks against public figures, universities, and even hospitals.

VandaTheGod
Super hacker VandaTheGod had a personal goal to hack 5,000 websites. Pixabay

In one case, the attacker claimed to have access to the medical records of 1 million patients from New Zealand, which were offered for sale for just $200.

Also Read: Women Dedicating 1/6th of the Day To Social Media, Says Survey

“Most of VandaTheGod’s attacks against governments were politically motivated, but a closer look at some of tweets shows the attacker also trying to achieve a personal goal: hacking a total of 5,000 websites,” said researchers.

The goal was nearly reached, as there are currently 4,820 records of hacked websites linked to VandaTheGod.

“VandaTheGod has proven with numerous successful attacks against reputable websites, that hacktivism often crosses a line into further criminal activity, such as credentials and payment-card theft,” said Check Point. (IANS)

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What Difference Between Chinese Domination and American Domination?

Chinese government has always been dominant over it's people

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Who is more dominant, Chinese government or US government?. Pixabay

By N.S. Venkataraman

Chinese government has not left anybody in doubt, about it’s ambitious target of dominating the world at any cost. Chinese government has been suppressing  freedom of speech in China, taking away the rights of citizens of Hong Kong in authoritarian manner and aggressively occupying the territory of neighbours such as Tibet and part of Indian territory, which it occupied after 1962 Indo Chinese war. China is now claiming Indian province Arunachal Pradesh as it’s own and aggressively claiming territorial right in South China Sea and Senkaku island. Chinese government says that Taiwan is part of it’s territory and objects to any recognition given to Taiwan by any other country.

Further, China is trying to enforce it’s domination over small and weak  nearby  countries  such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and others, by extending loans, which  these countries cannot afford to repay in the foreseeable future.

Viewing China’s methods and targets, one does not find much of difference between today’s Chinese government and Hitler’s Germany. Several countries in the world are  gradually realizing that checking China’s ambition is as necessary, as checking Hitler’s ambition  that caused World War II.

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Chinese government has been suppressing freedom of speech in China. Pixabay

However, the supporters of China claim that US government too should be accused of trying to dominate the world and it has sent troops to several countries such as Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and others to enforce it’s domination. There is an element of  truth in this, as American government seem to think that it has the duty to police the world.

In any case, on careful analysis of the scenario and judiciously comparing the domination desire of China and USA, one cannot but see a subtle difference between both these countries.

While China believes in ruthless elimination of opponents both inside and outside China (just like the way Hitler did) and wants to occupy territories of other countries by coercion or force , US does not indulge in such acts of suppression of human rights or occupying territory of other countries.

US has not concealed it’s desire that freedom of speech and democratic procedures should prevail in all regions in the world. On many occasions , US has fought against totalitarian regimes, religious extremists and terrorist groups and has paid a high price by losing American lives.

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USA desires to dominate the world. Pixabay

USA may have the ambition to dominate the world and ensure it’s authority as super power, but it has no ambition of territorial expansions that China has.

All said and done, if the world were to choose between USA and China, it would inevitably come to the conclusion that world domination by USA is a lesser evil than the world domination by China.

Unlike China, the citizens of USA have the right to criticise the decisions of the government, launch protests against human rights violation, if any and exercise their franchise once in four years to change the party in power, if it would act against the wishes of the people. By such process, the conscience of USA largely remain in tact and US government is vulnerable to the pressure of public opinion, both in USA  and other parts of the world.

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In China, the citizens don’t have the right to criticise the decisions of the government. Pixabay

Also Read: McDonald’s Reveals Plan to Open More Drive-Thru Restaurants in UK

On the other hand, China has totalitarian regime and no citizen can survive in China if he would criticise the Chinese President or question the decision of the Chinese government. To this extent, it is dictatorial regime in China, which can be termed as uncivilized form of governance.

The fact is that USA has been remaining as super  power in the world for several decades now and  the world has not  become worse due to the dominating power of USA. Of course, there have been criticism against US government by some section of world opinion but  most of such critics belong to religious extremist groups  and motivated  leftist (communist) forces , whose economic  and administrative policies  have totally failed to deliver the goods.

Achieving super power status by China   and establishing it’s authority in large parts of the world with least consideration for value systems and sentiments of people, is the worst thing that can happen to the world civilization.

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Redefine Your Homes During the Pandemic

Redefine your homes in the pandemic era

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The world has shifted to Work-from-home strategy since the outspread of the Novel Coronavirus. Pixabay

Although abrupt, Work-From-Homes has presented a shift in the working paradigm for many businesses, many tech giants see this as a new cultural trend, ready to carry it forward even after lockdown ends.

But for those sitting at home – admittedly for longer durations than before – a new observation has taken precedence. Our clockwork routine has found its roots within these four walls, giving a new face to old practices, whims and moments. And people have realized that their homes aren’t fully equipped to continue this change in lifestyle.

Lokendra Ranawat, CEO of WoodenStreet gives us an overview of what’s missing and how to overcome it:

Where’s the study?

The rush of an imminent lockdown resulted in employees resorting to personal computers. On a similar front, kids had to retreat with the only option of online classes through video conferencing applications. But what about the desks left behind? The heavily-scribbled notepads and stationery, or the ergonomic chairs? Can simply having a conference app create the same attentiveness of a classroom? The need for a structural place to carry out office work and studies will arise, a need that people will want to take care of. Rather than relocating to dining tables (the ad-hoc workplace) or beds (which only trigger backaches) the answer is to create a dedicated study.

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Organize your work by adding a study table at your work place. Pixabay

Foremost in this requirement is a study table with drawers and shelves to keep laptops, desktops and books at the centre of our focus. Drawers and shelves allow one to organize books, notes and stationery with easy-access. A pin-board can help in organizing thoughts, tasks and small notes creatively. An ergonomic chair completes the setup, thereby creating an attentive environment away from disturbances.

Outdoors – from a distance

When pushed within homes, the touch with the outside world was lost, or so people thought. Within a few days, however, the suspended structures looking out from apartments – mostly utilized to dry clothes – were being used as a place to exercise, have fun with family, socialize from a distance. People had rediscovered balconies.

Balconies present a favourable avenue for people to continue what they always enjoyed, without breaking social distancing. For this very reason, people will want to facelift their balconies for greater comfort, tranquillity and the essence of outdoors. Grass carpets, along with potted plants, can be a great way to introduce a touch of nature. Paired with rattan, wicker or wooden chairs, this spot can become the perfect place to exercise, enjoy family time, snacks, tea or even chit-chat with others from a safe distance.

Living the entertainment

Ever since personalized entertainment – in the form of Netflix, Amazon Prime and various streaming services – has hit the market, cinemas haven’t seen the same activity they once used to. People have had access to more shows and flicks, all tailored to their taste in genre. With the pandemic settling in, social distancing has disrupted the crowds of movie-goers.

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Personalise your living room by adding TV and other equipments. Pixabay

But this means that our living rooms have to compensate for our binge-watching habits. While internet and a TV set bring every form of visual entertainment to our fingertips, this new way of living with personalized entertainment requires personalized comfort and structure too. People can opt to house their TVs within TV units with mounted speakers. Plush sectional sofas, along with extra seats of lounge chairs, bean bags or pouffes can spread comfort to every member of the family, creating the perfect, cosy and personalized home theatre.

Read More: How The COVID Pandemic Pushed More Indians To Online Casinos

Corners for new habits

During this course of lockdown, everyone has picked up a lot of new habits – such as reading. Some have taken a new liking to retreating into a corner and enjoying “me-time”. But shuffling throughout the home does not necessarily give that peace much longed for. A personal corner is needed, not only to enjoy books, but also for some private time alone with your thoughts.

This is the perfect opportunity to build yourself a separate “personalized” corner, equipped with objects that lend comfort and serenity to your time. An empty corner can be repurposed for your personal comfort. Mounting shelves, or perhaps purchasing a bookshelf, can give a new home to the books you already have -and the ones you will be collecting to continue this new habit. Get a plush lounge chair and an ottoman to let you sink in with your thoughts, and relax under a warm lamp with your favourite read. (IANS)