Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Vietnam at risk of becoming mid-tier cybercrime hub

Updated at Friday, 03 May 2019, 22:42
The Hanoitimes - International experts said that Vietnam`s growing economy has somewhat seen the promising land for cybercrime.
International tech experts have warned that Vietnam is “on the edge” of becoming a mid-tier cybercrime hub as its economy has been thriving over the past years. 
Photo: Insiderfinancial
Photo: Insiderfinancial
Money attracts crime and encourages cyber espionage, sociologist Jonathan Lusthaus said. He reminded that Vietnam’s economy is growing more than 6% per annum and the figure is expected to trend upwards of 6.5% through 2020.

The growing economy can absorb a growing supply of fresh tech talent but Vietnam has a “very good tradition of hacking” as well as other “technical pursuits”, Dr. Jonathan Lusthaus, director of the Human Cybercriminal Project at the University of Oxford, told ZDNet. 

Cybersecurity firms have already seen a rise of offensive cyber activity from Vietnam through 2018, said the sociologist, who has been studying cybercrime globally for more than seven years.

Meanwhile, CrowdStrike’s Vice President of Technology Strategy Mike Sentonas said that Vietnamese adversaries are very active in the Asia-Pacific region.

Vietnam is starting to emerge as a player, including the development of auto companies which are doing joint ventures and this kind of businesses might be the target of cybercrime, ZDNet quoted him as saying.

In March, for example, Toyota announced a pair of data breaches in five weeks, according to
Mike Sentonas.

Risk of cybercrime hub 

One of the difficulties is identifying whether the new criminal operators are local cybercriminals, or are foreign cybercriminals who are operating there, Lusthaus said.

Lusthaus visited Vietnam personally in 2017 as part of his seven-year research program for his book “Industry of Anonymity: Inside the Business of Cybercrime.”

He said that he felt the country was on the edge, but so far it was being kept out of being a major cybercrime hub, noting that hackers in Vietnam are, by regional standards, quite highly regarded.

However, Vietnam has a community of interest in hacking, and the nation’s technical education is good enough regionally to produce a suitable talent pool and this won’t necessarily result in a cybercrime hub, he said.

He raised questions that “What we’re going to look for in these potential new hubs, somewhere like Vietnam as an example, is that are they producing enough technical talent in the first place? And are they producing too much to actually support it in the tech sector?”

The Nhan Dan newspaper has reported that Vietnam is now facing a great deal of cyber security challenges as a number of attacks are targeted at critical national infrastructure, such as airports and the banking system in sophisticated forms.

Some security officials emphasized the necessity of an ASEAN cyber security information-sharing center in Vietnam to strengthen international cooperation in related issues.

Only when such measures are taken can the digital transformation in Vietnam become sustainable and move forward on the right track, helping the country become a strong country in cyber security, they noted.
Linh Pham
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