Information technology engineers at work. Experts believe that cybersecurity has become more important than ever in today’s connected world as it can threaten national security (Photo: cand.com.vn)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) – 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 chairman of the International Data Group (IDG) ASEAN, said at the Vietnam Cyber Security 2017 Forum on November 9.

From 2017 to 2021, Vietnamese authorities are expected to spend over 1 trillion VND (44.5 million USD) for cybersecurity, but by 2021, damage by cyberattacks is forecast to reach 6 trillion VND (267 million USD).

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 co-operation, 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.

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.

APEC cybersecurity

Lieutenant general Hoang Phuoc Thuan also noted that authorities during the ongoing APEC 2017 Summit in Da Nang this week focused on cybersecurity.

“There are many groups from different industries working for the highest level of cybersecurity at the APEC Summit, and Vietnamese leaders have also called for the development of information technology, including cybersecurity,” he added.

Viettel Group – the country’s leading telecom service provider - which is providing telecom services and is in charge of cybersecurity during the APEC Summit, has given top priority to information security and stopping cyberattacks.

“We continuously examined cybersecurity during preparation for the APEC Summit. Dozens of rehearsals for cyberattack prevention were organised, and human resources have been arranged 24 hours a day to ensure that cyberattacks can be warded off,” Tao Duc Thang, Viettel deputy general director, told Viet Nam News.-VNA