Internet users, businesses, and the government are advised to work together to improve the country’s cybersecurity
Privacy invasion and cyberbullying are on the rise in Vietnam, according to an expert speaking at the “Digital Economy and Cybersecurity Policy in Vietnam” workshop held in Hanoi on Thursday.
Jointly organized by the American Chamber of Commerce and the Vietnam Digital Communications Association, the workshop addressed various issues relating to the digital economy, national security, information security, and data sovereignty.
According to statistics released at Internet Day 2017 in Hanoi last November, Vietnam was ranked 6th in Asia and 12th in the world in terms of Internet users, boasting around 64 million people.
Despite its massive Internet using population, the protection of its users' privacy and personal information has been widely neglected by both citizens and the government, an issue unanimously cited as a serious problem by those in attendance.
Nguyen Quang Dong, an expert at the Institute for Policy Studies and Media Development, said that Vietnam is experiencing a fast developing digital economy but also creating a breeding ground for various cybersecurity risks.
Besides the long-realized risks of cyberattacks and cybercrime, new problems related to the invasion of privacy and the illegal exploitation of personal information for commercial and non-commercial purposes are running rampant, the expert said.
Dong also indicated that there is an increasing number of fake news being published online alongside an increase in cyberbullying aimed at businesses and individuals.
Though e-commerce has its upsides, it also carries several inherent risks, the expert explained.
Dong illustrated his point by citing a situation involving airlines leaking their customers' personal information to taxi companies.
Nguyen Minh Hong, Vice-Minister of Information and Telecommunications and President of the Vietnam Digital Communications Association, pointed out six cyber vulnerabilities that Vietnamese Internet users face – harm from social networking sites, data encryption, cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, and personal devices.
Lessons from other countries
Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam Ping Kitnikone was proud to share that her country’s government is among the very first pioneers to implement measures and policies aimed at bolstering cybersecurity.
A statistic provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce indicated that 71 percent of cyberattacks within the past two years targeted businesses.
“We understand clearly that digital economies and cyberspace are being exploited by criminals,” Ping Kitnikone said.
The ambassador also suggested that Vietnam optimize its resources to promote the digital economy but also remain focused on issues relating to cybersecurity.
The country needs to adopt a more thorough approach to cybersecurity in order to cope with such a complex problem, many Vietnamese experts stated at Thursday’s event.
Some experts recommended that the country develop clear measures to deal with cases regarding the invasion of privacy and the piracy of digital data.
Nathaniel J. Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook and the keynote speaker at the event, said that cyberspace presents both opportunities and challenges, so to ensure cybersecurity, there needs to be cooperation among users, businesses, and the government.
There are billions of computers connected with one another through the Internet, so users need to place a personal focus on ensuring their cybersecurity, he emphasized.