Cybersecurity needs focus from local authorities

11-Nov-2017 Intellasia | VNS | 6:00 AM Print This Post

As cybersecurity has become more important than ever in today’s connected world, local authorities are taking steps to protect national and personal security.

“Cyber applications are tools for Vietnam to connect with the world and motivation for the country to develop a knowledge-based economy. However, cybersecurity is becoming serious, even threatening national security,” Le Thanh Tam, executive chair of the International Data Group (IDG) Asean, said at the Vietnam Cyber Security 2017 Forum on Thursday.

From 2017 to 2021, Vietnamese authorities are expected to spend over VND1 trillion (US$44.5 million) for cybersecurity, but by 2021, damages by cyberattacks are expected to reach VND6 trillion ($267 million).

“We must do more to limit the damage,” he said.

Lieutenant general Hoang Phuoc Thuan, director general of the Ministry of Public Security’s Cyber Security Authority, said that each year, authorities have discovered dozens of cases involving the loss of national secrets from cyberattacks.

“National security threats by cyberattacks have become more serious. The websites of the Party, government and media are often attacked with threats of creating fake information and calling for uprisings,” he said.

Thuan said that protecting Vietnam’s cyber sovereignty is difficult as the country has hundreds of connections through the seas, borders and satellites.

“We are lagging behind on national cybersecurity because awareness is limited. This results in limited cyberdefensive ability, while most of the solutions rely on foreign partners,” he added.

The lieutenant general said that awareness of cybersecurity must be enhanced throughout the entire society.

“Relevant authorities must issue a strategy and an action plan for cybersecurity, and improve and complete the legal framework for cybersecurity in line with international regulations,” he said. “An industry for cybersecurity should be set up to defend Vietnam. Authorities should also encourage start-ups and innovative businesses to join the field.”

Nguyen Thanh Hai, director general of the Ministry of Information and Communications’ Information Security Authority, said: “International cooperation, in-depth research and training for new technology related to cybersecurity are very important.”

Last year, Vietnam trained more than 400 information technology engineers and provided short training courses for more than 2,600 State staff, and also organised international and national workshops on cybersecurity.

“Attention has been paid to cybersecurity education, especially for State staff,” he added.

Banking is considered very vulnerable to cyberattacks. “Banking cybercrimes often target digital banking services and point-of-sale systems, involve phishing/social engineering of customers, and attack core transactional/back-office systems and ATMs,” Matthew Martin, CIO of Asia Commercial Bank, said.

Among the many challenges are security data coming from disparate systems, platforms and applications, and attack tools readily available for sale on the internet, as well as regulatory compliance issues, all of which are placing increased burdens on systems and network administrators.

“Vietnam produces good programmers, but very few security specialists,” he said.

To achieve information assurance, Dr Tran Van Hoa from the People’s Public Security Academy, suggested that systems should operate well at the same time: access control, network security, infrastructure security, application security, encryption, operation security, education and awareness, legal and regulatory issues, and disaster recovery.

“To reduce losses, organisations and enterprises should prevent harmful codes and losses if the network is infected. When the network is infected, the urgent work is to stop the expansion and then discover the origin and write an anti-virus,” he said.

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