A workshop on Safety in banking transactions was held in HCM City recently by the central bank’s info-tech department, Malaysian Allied Solutions Co and Cheri Co.
Ta Quang Tien, director of the State Bank of Vietnam IT department talked about the seminar:
At what stage is the investment trend of modernising banking technology?
Really, a so-called good information technology network for the banking industry must satisfy a variety of requirements. Firstly, the technology must be modern and applied by many banks in the world. It must be synchronised, and comprise integral equipment and applicable software and databases and processing systems. These are technical factors. Secondly, the technology has to meet the requirements of professional banking, especially modern professional processes which a bank must strive for. Thirdly, it should be user-friendly. In other words, the systems must be easy to use, compatible with other bank’s systems, expandable, and can be upgraded. In addition, the technology employed must meet international standards. For the banking industry, it is important that the technology has to ensure convenient provision of banking services for all customers at the best quality.
What about security?
It is insufficient if the modernisation of the banking industry only follows the four principles I have stated. Safety is crucial. It can be said that safety in banking is especially significant as it impacts capital sources, prestige and the long-term operation of banks.
In your opinion, what should we do to make the banking transactions safer?
Foremost, large volume transaction systems must use state-of-art technical systems so that all transactions can be made for all the varying types of customers banks have. Secondly, the software solutions, hardware solutions and administrative solutions must be synchronously employed. Thus, it is necessary to also have a sound legal framework to maintain the responsibilities of the system operators.
What can you tell us about the existing safety and security at Vietnamese banks?
We are applying automatic technology in the interbank transactions and fortunately, thus far no major faults has been found with this system. Recently, there were reports of money stolen via automatic teller machines that has created some concern about the safety of automated banking transactions. However, most of these cases in fact were done through retail systems. It is not a technical factor. It relates to management.
Does that mean there has never been any financial loss involved banking technology on a large scale in Vietnam?
What about hackers?
So far we have not detected a single hacker that was able to penetrate bank systems. But with websites, we did. It is wise to remember that website technology is distinguished from banking technology which is much more sophisticated than websites which can be accesses through numerous ways. In general, banking technology is free from hackers.
Many participants at the workshop said that the biggest difficulty of banking security and technological modernisation is the shortage of financial sources and human resources. What is your opinion?
The government has in fact supported investment in new technology but it still lags behind demand. I think attention should be paid to this issue because IT activity in Vietnam is still a fledgling industry so the problems of hackers are not as serious as in other countries. But that doe not mean we should be complacent and become lax on supervision as it would impact the whole national economy.
Could you clarify that?
For example, security activities need equipment. Previously we thought that firewalls would keep all systems safe. But we now know firewalls alone are not secure enough to protect multi-users of the systems such as data storage, telecommunications, various users, technical measures, and administration and so on. Thus, security and safety is given first priority.