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Vietnam strengthens human resources for information security tasks

mage credit: Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications

The Minister of Information and Communication (MIC), Nguyen Manh Hung, said that Vietnam would announce a national digital transformation strategy in 2019.

At Vietnam Security Summit 2019 which took place in mid-April this year, the Minister emphasised that cybersecurity is vital to successfully implement the transformation.

According to a press release, currently, Vietnam has CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Teams) in charge of coordinating rescue activities in emergencies and sending out warnings about computer network safety issues. These include VNCERT, the first rescue team established in 2005 under the Prime Minister’s Decision No 339 and which functions under MIC.

A few years after its establishment, MIC released a decision stipulating that ministries, branches, government agencies, and large corporations have to join the rescue network, establish CERT centres in provinces and cities, and connect the centres.

The model was designed in accordance with a Japanese one under which there are a national CERT and many other CERTs belonging to ministries, branches, and large enterprises. The CERTs protect the systems of their own and they may provide services to protect the systems of other enterprises.

The release said that the emergency response network now comprises of over 130 members, but according to experts, are unconnected and unprofessional. There are only three ministries which have divisions in charge of information security. They are MIC, the Ministry of National Defence, and the Ministry of Public Security.

According to Le Quang Minh from the IT Institute, an arm of the Hanoi National University, many ministries and branches don’t have the human resources to develop CERTS. They only have IT centres which include information security divisions, while the number of workers in charge of emergency responses is modest.

In 2014, the Prime Minister released Decision 99 approving a plan to train and develop human resources for the country’s information security by 2020, under which 300 lecturers and researchers would be sent abroad to long-term courses for master’s degrees and doctorates in information security, and 1,500 information security officers would be sent to short-term training courses abroad.

Vietnam would also produce 2,000 workers with university and postgraduate education levels in information security. Domestic short-term training courses would be organised for 10,000 officers at state agencies.

Vietnam now has nine key information security training establishments.

Plan 99 says that training establishments can create projects to upgrade research and training quality worth VND 35 billion. However, according to MIC Minister, such an investment has not been implemented in the last five years.

As a result of the growing number of information security centres, Vietnam recently recorded 3,159 cyber attacks in the first six months of this year, a decrease from the same period last year.

The attacks comprised 968 deface, 635 malware, and 1,556 phishing attacks.

According to the MIC’s Authority of Information Security, cybersecurity and safety in Vietnam have improved over the last few years because of campaigns on malware removal and training courses on cyberattack combat launched in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

A report released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in late March 2019 shows that Vietnam was ranked 50th out of 175 places of 194 countries worldwide in the global cybersecurity index, up from the 100th position in 2017.

The country ranked 11th among 38 countries in the Asia-Pacific, and fifth out of 11 countries in Southeast Asia in this regard, after Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

The Ministry said malware-related attacks on government computers doubled in during the period, and experts have called for more attention to malware prevention and control on government computers in the future.

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