HANOI, Vietnam, Jan. 28 (UPI) — The government will invest more than $42 million in the coming decade to protect sensitive information from an increasing cyber threat.
The move is part of a far-reaching plan to raise the profile of the country’s Internet technology sector, both in manufacturing of hardware and software development. It is also hoped the plan will show its commitment to combating cyberattacks that might originate in Vietnam, a criticism that has dogged the sector over recent years.
A National Center for Network Security Technology will be set up in the capital Hanoi to develop indigenous protection technologies and train up to 1,000 people in Internet security skills. The center will be overseen by the Ministry of Information and Communications, according to a report on the Vietnam Internet news Web site VietNamNet Bridge.
“By 2020, 100 percent of system managers of the national information systems will be trained and granted national certificates of information security,” the report said.
The center will work closely with a new National Agency for Information Security to be established by the end of the year. The Ministry of Public Security, the Government Secrecy Committee and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will work jointly to set it up. It will focus on building cybercrime warnings, a discovery and prevention system, a verification and security system for the government’s information system and a system to ensure information security for e-commerce activities within industry and trade.
A national network of computer security incident response teams will be set up at agencies to cope with information incidents.
Laws on cybercrime will also be designed.
The announcement comes after the government acknowledged that it had detected nearly twice as many hacking attempts upon the country’s Web sites, both business and government, last year.
Hackers attacked nearly 1,050 Web sites in 2009, up from 450 in 2008 and 340 in 2007, a report on Radio Voice of Vietnam said.
Also on the rise are computer viruses. Last year there were more than 47,000 in Vietnam, a 30 percent rise from 2008, according to statistics from the Bach KHoa Internet Security Center. The most common targets of hackers include Web sites of Internet service providers, financial companies, banks and government agencies.
In November and December 2008, research and software producer BKIS found 18 Web sites of government ministries and departments attacked by hackers.
Many sites are susceptible because companies lack security knowledge and fail to communicate their needs to their Web site builders, said Nguyen Tu Quang, director general of BKIS, set up in Hanoi 2001. BKIS recently joined the Business Software Alliance, an international organization of technology manufacturers including Microsoft, Apple, Cisco and Adobe.
In February 2009 BKIS said its experts had detected mistakes in the security networks of several big computer makers, including Toshiba, Lenovo and Asus. Quang also said that Vietnamese IT experts were successful in uncovering the sources of attacks on Web sites in the United States and the Republic of Korea.
Earlier this month Australia’s Ministry of Defense said it will recruit 130 cybersecurity experts within five years on top of the 51 who work at its new operations center.
South Korea, too, announced it is setting up a cyber warfare command center manned by up to 200 specialists to ward off attacks on government and military IT networks from North Korea and other countries.
But while the Vietnamese government wishes to improve its Internet security, international human-rights organizations have heavily criticized the country for clamping down on Internet use by political dissidents and opponents of the communist regime.
Several dissidents were sentenced to long prison terms for so-called hostile use of the Internet, The New York Times said in a 2004 report. At the time Vietnam ordered local governments to closely monitor Internet use.
Internet cafe owners can be fined or jailed for allowing clients to download or send “bad information” on the Internet. They must also document what Web sites clients use and for how long, the Times report noted