Vietnam reduces cybercrime with security initiatives

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Tom Abke

Vietnam is making strides in its battle against cybercrime after a punishing 2020 that saw a 10% jump in cyberattacks across some sectors of its economy. The country experienced a 20% drop in such attacks for the first three months of 2021 compared with the same period a year earlier.

The cybersecurity success follows a suite of measures taken by the government and its private sector partners.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) recorded 1,271 cyberattacks from January through March 2021 compared with nearly 1,600 for the first quarter of 2020. The largest drop was in malicious code installation, or malware attacks. The Hanoi Times newspaper credited a coordinated campaign between the government and private sector.

One effort focused on scanning and removing malware “in the entire Vietnamese cyberspace,” according to the MIC. It was implemented from September through December 2020 across all provinces and cities and achieved a 50% reduction in malware infections.

Another campaign component was to create secure computer networks for major international events hosted by Vietnam, the MIC stated. Hanoi hosted numerous online events in part because of the coronavirus pandemic and Vietnam’s role as the 2020 chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Vietnam also hosted virtual events as a temporary member of the United Nations Security Council. The MIC lauded cybersecurity experts from the ministries of Defense and Public Security and from private firms for successfully guarding the events and preventing disruptions.

All ministries, branches and local offices of Vietnam’s government adopted a multilayered model of security measures by the end of 2020, the MIC added. The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) worked with the Security Operation Center to implement the cybersecurity plan.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of strong cybersecurity systems in the finance sector, the NCSC and International Events and Consulting Group organized a drill for mock cyberattacks that featured 30 businesses and organizations in banking, insurance and securities.

The MIC also sponsored national and international cybersecurity competitions, including the WhiteHat Grand Prix 06 and an ASEAN student contest to generate public enthusiasm and showcase rising stars in cybersecurity.

The WhiteHat Grand Prix 06, pictured, was the sixth global cybersecurity competition organized by Vietnam. The competition, which concluded in December 2020, attracted a record 739 teams from 84 countries and territories.

“The competitions have contributed to promoting and developing cybersecurity human resources in Vietnam, while promoting and enhancing Vietnam’s image and position in the international arena,” the MIC news release stated.

Tom Abke is a FORUM contributor reporting from Singapore.



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