Saturday February 16, 2019
Home Lead Story Vietnam Raise...

Vietnam Raises Its Concern Over Cyber security

Security advisers offer some basic reminders to increase safety online.

0
//
Work
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)

Next Story

Russian Lawmakers Come Up In Support For Bill on ‘Sovereign’ Internet

The bill faces two more votes in the lower chamber, before it is voted on in the upper house of parliament and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

0
Internet
The coat of arms of Russia is reflected in a laptop screen in this picture illustration taken Feb. 12, 2019. Pixabay

Russian lawmakers backed tighter internet controls on Tuesday to defend against foreign meddling in draft legislation that critics warn could disrupt Russia’s internet and be used to stifle dissent.

The legislation, which some Russian media have likened to an online “iron curtain,” passed its first of three readings in the 450-seat lower chamber of parliament.

The bill seeks to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and proposes building a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue functioning even if the country is cut off from foreign infrastructure.

internet
The legislation, which some Russian media have likened to an online “iron curtain,” passed its first of three readings in the 450-seat lower chamber of parliament. Pixabay

The legislation was drafted in response to what its authors describe as an aggressive new U.S. national cybersecurity strategy passed last year.

The Agora human rights group said earlier this month that the legislation was one of several new bills drafted in December that “seriously threaten Internet freedom.”

The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has said the bill poses more of a risk to the functioning of the Russian internet segment than the alleged threats from foreign countries that the bill seeks to counter.

internet
The Agora human rights group said earlier this month that the legislation was one of several new bills drafted in December that “seriously threaten Internet freedom.” Pixabay

The bill also proposes installing network equipment that would be able to identify the source of web traffic and also block banned content.

The legislation, which can still be amended, but which is expected to pass, is part of a drive by officials to increase Russian “sovereignty” over its internet segment.

Also Read: Now Russian Telecom Watchdog To Direct Facebook, Twitter to Localise Users’ Database

Russia has introduced tougher internet laws in the last five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.

The bill faces two more votes in the lower chamber, before it is voted on in the upper house of parliament and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.(VOA)