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Vietnam cybersecurity center recruiting hacker once jailed by US

Friday, December 04, 2020, 18:15 GMT+7
Vietnam cybersecurity center recruiting hacker once jailed by US
This image shows Ngo Minh Hieu (R), one of the most notorious hackers in the U.S.’s history of information security, posing with a man. Photo: Krebs on Security

A Vietnamese hacker who previously spent seven years in United States prison for cybercrime is being recruited by a cybersecurity agency under Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications.

“The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) is in the process of recruiting Ngo Minh Hieu, a.k.a. Hieupc, as its technical expert,” a representative of the agency confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday.

Hieu will be participating in research aimed at better ensuring information security for local residents and businesses, the representative elaborated, adding that his tasks will be assigned and supervised by the NCSC for the common goal of protecting the people in cyberspace.

“The NCSC always creates favorable conditions and opportunities for young people with good knowledge and potential to coordinate, participate in research, and work in different positions, which ultimately contributes to the country’s cybersecurity and overall development.”

During interviews with Tuoi Tre, several experts threw their support behind the decision of the NCSC, considering this a win-win solution.

Hieu will be able to use his talent in suitable activities, helping protect the security and safety of national cyberspace.

Meanwhile, the NCSC will have a competent technical expert to better protect the country, people, and businesses in an increasingly complex and risky network environment. 

Hieu, 31, is one of the most notorious hackers in the U.S.’s history of information security.

He was arrested in 2013 and was put on trial in 2015.

The Vietnamese man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for hacking into U.S. businesses’ computers, stealing personally identifiably information (PII) and selling to other cybercriminals his fraudulently-obtained access to PII belonging to approximately 200 million U.S. citizens.

He later cooperated with U.S. police in the arrest of about 20 people who used his data service for their criminal schemes, as well as testified against these people at their trials.

After spending seven years behind bars, Hieu was released and allowed to return to Vietnam in 2020.

In his interview with Krebs on Security, a U.S.-based blog covering computer security and cybercrime, Hieu said his time in jail had helped him reconsider his life choices.

The man hoped that other hackers will learn from his experience and use their skills for good deeds.

Hieu expressed his hope to be able to work in the field of cybersecurity, while helping young people stay away from criminal activities.

He has also written a long handbook outlining tips for Internet users to avoid falling victim to identity theft.

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