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Understanding the success of Viettel's cybersecurity team

Understanding the success of Viettel's cybersecurity team

Sunday, November 26, 2023, 10:40 GMT+7
Understanding the success of Viettel's cybersecurity team
Dedicated young professionals contribute to Viettel Cyber Security Team's success.

The Viettel Cyber Security Team’s win at Pwn2Own Toronto 2023 on October 27 garnered serious attention from the global technology community, sparking curiosity over Vietnam’s up-and-coming tech scene and its coterie of homegrown techies.

The team's success at Pwn2Own Tornoto was not a fluke – it was the culmination of more than a decade of planning initiated by Viettel’s leaders as part of their commitment to bolstering the Southeast Asian country’s information security industry.

VCS’s first foray in the international cyber security arena began in 2011 when its inaugural group began putting efforts toward uncovering network security vulnerabilities.

"As a company entrusted with operating critical information infrastructures, Viettel has consistently regarded cybersecurity as a pivotal aspect of our strategy," emphasized Nguyen Son Hai, VCS’s current director and a member of the original six-member team.

"In the realm of cybersecurity, humans are the most crucial factor.

"Even if you are an end user equipped with a state-of-the-art device, you are still exposed to a high risk of cyberattacks.

"Similarly, Viettel Group's key infrastructures, such as our telecommunications and Internet networks, have perennially been targeted by the world's most notorious hackers."

Featured in the provided photo are some of the accomplished members of VCS

Featured in this provided photo are some of the accomplished members of Viettel Cyber Security Team.

Since 2015, VCS has trained over 450 students in safeguarding networks, but only the top five percent were offered the opportunity to join VCS.

"Aside from assembling a team of experts and investing in in-depth research, we continue to allocate resources toward enhancing the team's vulnerability exploitation skills. Our participation in world-class cybersecurity contests is aligned with this purpose," Hai explained.

In 2013, VCS set its sights on exploring 'zero-day vulnerabilities' -- previously unknown and unresolved flaws.

Anh Huy and Hong Quang, two VCS team members, were among the first on the Viettel squad to take on the challenge. 

Their work led them to uncover their first zero-day vulnerability in 2015. Ever since, they have discovered an additional 400 vulnerabilities.

"There is no other Vietnamese company that has achieved such success and there are very few global companies that can boast similar achievements,” Hai claimed.

These successes have helped bolster VCS’s reputation in the local techie community and driven hundreds of young technology experts to apply to the team.

“In the realm of cybersecurity, human capital is the most crucial factor," Hai reiterated.

"Consequently, VCS has consistently prioritized the training, improvement, and development of successive generations of experts with advanced professional skills, ready to tackle international-level challenges."

VCS has evolved into an attractive workplace for numerous young information technology engineers in Vietnam.

Viettel Cyber Security Team has evolved into an attractive workplace for numerous young information technology engineers in Vietnam.

Tao Duc Thang, president and general director of Viettel Group, expressed pride in Viettel's 'white-hat hackers' during a ceremony to honor the VCS team for their championship at Pwn2Own Toronto 2023.

"Viettel is immensely proud of the VCS team for securing a prestigious international prize in the field of cybersecurity, facing off against world-leading equipment manufacturers and major research and development units," said Thang.

During his speech, Thang explained that Pwn2Own is a battle against manufacturers with the world's best teams of security experts, always ready to engage with hackers until the final moments.

The contest has few rules and even allows for multinational collaborations, according to Thang.

"The championship at Pwn2Own 2023 has not only elevated Viettel's prestige but it has also added to Vietnam's standing on the world stage," he shared.

According to Thang, cybersecurity is a vast and challenging field which presents long-term obstacles for Viettel's experts.

"Maintaining the top rank is no easy feat; therefore, we must continually refine our skills and nurture a grand vision, aspiring to transform dreams into reality by placing Vietnam prominently on the world map of technology," said Thang, adding that Viettel has planned specific policies to both cultivate a high-quality workforce and ensure their comfort within the organization.

Collaborating with VCS, Thang emphasized that the unit must actively promote the growth of cybersecurity experts through targeted training.

From his perspective, this mission not only benefits Viettel Group but also serves the nation in safeguarding against risks in the dynamic landscape of the Internet.

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Thanh Ha - Hoang Nam - Kim Thoa / Tuoi Tre News

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