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Vietnam Safeguarding Sensitive Data in the Digital Age

As digital transformation progresses, the amount of sensitive data on digital platforms has grown, increasing the significance of safeguarding data as a critical imperative. The government has identified and outlined several prevalent scams that individuals should be vigilant about.

During the recent Vietnam Security Summit 2023, Nguyen Van Giang, Deputy Director of the Cyber Security and Hi-tech Crime Prevention (under the Public Security Ministry) stated that skilled cyber criminals exploit security weaknesses in hardware platforms, core services, and operating systems. They gain control and steal confidential data. Among the most vulnerable targets are server operating systems, virtualisation platforms, and protocols supporting IoT connections, such as monitoring cameras and other smart devices found in residential settings.

The event served as a forum for industry experts, policymakers, and technology solution providers to convene and deliberate on the most recent developments and trends in information security. A notable highlight of the event was the introduction of a digital investigation platform, which facilitated the exchange of essential data among network members regarding cyber incidents, mitigation strategies, security vulnerabilities, and cyberattacks.

During another event on risk warning and cyber fraudulence prevention, the Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Information and Communications, Vo Minh Thanh, explained that one of the most popular scamming tricks is fraudulent calls via social networks. The aim is to hijack victims’ accounts and steal sensitive bank account details. Despite numerous warnings about these tactics, a significant number of individuals continue to fall victim.

Another infamous scamming method involves the creation of counterfeit base transceiver stations (BTS) to transmit fraudulent messages to mobile phone users by exploiting the switch from 4G to 2G mode. This means those criminals have detected and taken advantage of vulnerabilities in the current telecommunication infrastructure to appropriate property.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning regarding an increasingly serious scam involving the utilisation of deepfake technology to capture the movements and voices of unsuspecting victims for fraudulent purposes. This manipulation has resulted in financial losses for numerous individuals. It is anticipated that this artificial intelligence (AI)-based deception will evolve further in the future, becoming even more sophisticated and deceptive.

Personal data serves as the foundational building blocks for government and business databases. As a result, these data are regarded as invaluable resources for organisations and individuals to gather and utilise. The legitimate and lawful use of this data yields significant value. However, illegal activities that compromise personal data, leading to infringements on national security, social order, and security, can have severe consequences.

As per reports from the Information and Communications Ministry in 2022, revenue from cyber information security reached VND4.83 trillion (US $205.6 million) but the estimated loss came to VND21.2 trillion (US $902.5 million), and the average expense to handle information leaks, stolen data was US $15.4 million per case. To combat this, the Ministry collaborated with various agencies to conduct three nationwide security exercises. The authority directly prevented over 3,600 fraudulent websites, safeguarding nearly 4 million people or approximately 6% of internet users.

Vietnam has set a goal to establish a cybersecurity research and development centre, safeguard information systems in 11 critical sectors, and establish cybersecurity forces at ministries, sectors, and state agencies by 2025. In May, several government agencies held a conference on the launch and evaluation of the national cyber security and safety strategy. Participants discussed measures to promote the implementation of the strategy across various areas of cyberspace, including digital infrastructure, platforms, data, national cyberinfrastructure, and information systems used by party and state agencies.

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