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Vietnam Bolstering Cybersecurity

In 2022, computer virus-induced damages accounted for 0.24% or VND 21.2 trillion (US$ 883 million) of the national GDP. The figure is relatively low compared to the rest of the world, according to a press release.

Statistics reveal that 180,000 computers in businesses and organisations based in Vietnam have been affected by Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks this year, mostly via emails having malicious codes in the attachments. Internet users falsely believing that document files are harmless has led to a boom in malicious code spread this year, with more than 1.5 million computers in Vietnam being infected.

One of the most popular viruses is FileStealer, aiming at stealing data files. It entered 750,000 computers in the country via USB or fake icons of popular document software pieces. Furthermore, in 2022, many individuals have become victims of online financial scams. 3 out of 4 phone users in Vietnam have already received online financial fraud messages or calls.

About 6.8 million people in Vietnam taking part in the cryptocurrency market, among the top countries in the world. This results in various potential security risks since such a market is rather new, incomplete, and unrecognised in many nations, including Vietnam. Based on blockchain technology, consensus mechanism, and finite number algorithm, this currency can be easily manipulated and controlled by its issuer or rumours of the public.

Industry experts predict that scams via phone messages or calls will still be popular next year. The higher the awareness of the community, the more sophisticated hackers’ activities are. Attractive financial returns will also make ransomware continue to flourish in the coming year. APT attacks aiming at espionage will also increase in 2023.

The country ranked 25th out of 194 countries in the Global Cybersecurity Index released last year. As OpenGov Asia reported, Vietnam earned an overall score of 94.59 out of the total 100, with improvement recorded across all five pillars – Legal Measures (20/20), Cooperative Measures (20/20), Technical Measures (16.31/20), Organisational Measures (18.98/20), and Capacity Development (19.26/20).

In October this year, the country’s Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh, issued Directive No. 18/CT-TTg on accelerating the implementation of activities to respond to cybersecurity incidents in Vietnam. The directive states that cybersecurity is an important, cross-cutting pillar in the creation of digital trust. Its promotion will protect the country’s prosperous development in the digital era as the country attempts comprehensive national digital transformation.

According to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), responding to cybersecurity incidents is a key and urgent activity to help agencies and organisations minimise damage from cyberattacks. The government will pay more attention to reviewing, detecting, and fixing vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It will proactively monitor and detect any network information insecurity risks to promptly handle incidents. It will strictly implement regulations on reporting online information security incidents.

The Prime Minister urged stakeholders to thoroughly grasp the contents of the Directive and devise measures to address and timely handle cybersecurity incidents. Stakeholders include ministers, heads of ministerial-level agencies, chairpersons of the People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities, presidents and general directors of corporations, state corporations, and enterprises that are members (or have affiliated units as members) of the National Cyber Information Security Incident Response Network.

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