Vietnam carries potential to be a cybersecurity powerhouse: minister

Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung also said Wednesday that Vietnam will soon announce a national digital transformation strategy to build a digital economy and a digital society.

He told the Vietnam Security Summit 2019 that in order for the country to be successful in digital transformation, cybersecurity and cyber-safety are fundamental conditions.

“Making the Internet safe is making the nation thrive,” Hung said. A cybersecurity powerhouse is like a military powerhouse in real life.” 

The ministry released data at the forum showing that last year, none of the 90 ministries and departments in the country had the highest cybersafety rating, grade A.

Just 17 percent had a grade B rating, while the majority, 70 percent, were in grade C and the remaining 13 percent had grade D. None of them had grade E, the lowest security grade.

Half of these organizations do not have a unit in charge of cybersecurity and have not engaged a cybersecurity firm to do so. Therefore, when there is a cyberattack, they don’t know how to react, the conference heard.

52 percent of the agencies admitted they haven’t set the correct priority for cybersafety, and 49 percent said they don’t have an adequate cybersecurity budget.

Do Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Department of Cybersecurity under the Ministry of Public Security, said that Vietnam was among the countries with the highest growth in number of Internet users.

But this growth has led to negative consequences, such as the spread of unethical information, fraud and illegal weapon sales, he said.

The country needs to make its cybersecurity laws more specific to tackle these violations with proper punishment, he added.

Vietnam has been making efforts to tighten its policy on cybersecurity. Its cybersecurity law, which took effect at the beginning of this year, bans Internet users from organizing, encouraging or training other people for anti-state purposes.

They are not allowed to distort history, negate the nation’s revolutionary achievements, undermine national solidarity, offend religions and discriminate on the basis of gender and race.

The law also requires foreign businesses to open representative offices in Vietnam and store their Vietnamese users’ data in Vietnamese territory.

Businesses will have to provide users’ data to the Ministry of Public Security upon receipt of requests in writing, in cases where any infringement of the cybersecurity law is being investigated.

In November, the communications ministry said it wanted half of social media users on domestic social networks by 2020 and plans to prevent “toxic information” on Facebook and Google.

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