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Cyberattacks pose a significant threat to individuals and businesses. Cyberattacks are distinguished by their stealthy and often devastating nature, as they exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and software to cause havoc on unsuspecting victims.

As cyberattacks become a constant threat worldwide, Vietnam is no exception. The hacking of the Ronin Blockchain, which is owned by Sky Mavis— the creators of the immensely popular Axie Infinity game, serves as a stark reminder. A sophisticated attack caused the company to lose a staggering USD 620 million in cryptocurrency in March 2022. The breach was caused by a cleverly disguised fake job offer that duped an unsuspecting employee into downloading a seemingly innocuous PDF file containing a malicious virus. This breach demonstrates the vulnerability of Vietnamese businesses to cyber threats such as phishing schemes and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which mirrors global risks.

 Vietnam's Cybersecurity Assessment

OpenGov Asia highlighted a recent cybersecurity assessment conducted by a private cybersecurity entity, in which Vietnamese users were estimated to have lost 17.3 trillion VND (approximately USD 716 million) in 2023 due to computer viruses. While this figure is lower than previous years, Vietnam's cybersecurity landscape remains challenging, particularly with the rise of data-encrypting virus attacks on critical servers.

Despite technological advancements, computers without internet connections continue to face advanced persistent threats (APTs), demonstrating cyber threats' adaptability. Furthermore, the threat of online financial fraud continues unabated.

In 2023, the company's malware monitoring and warning system reported a concerning statistic: approximately 745,000 computers were infected with account-stealing malware, which targeted platforms such as Facebook and banking. This represents a significant 40% increase over the previous year. Notably, viruses such as RedLine Stealer, Arkei Stealer, and Fabookie were among the top twenty most common viruses in Vietnam.

The primary method for the spread of data-stealing viruses is the use of cracked software. According to the survey, a staggering 53% of computers in Vietnam run unlicensed software, commonly known as cracked versions. Unsurprisingly, this contributes to the following alarming statistic: approximately 10% of Vietnamese users have been subjected to cyberattacks, resulting in compromised social networks, emails, and banking accounts.

The cybersecurity assessment also revealed an increasing trend of fraudulent messages and calls, with the proportion of users receiving such communications reaching 73% in 2023. Online financial fraud has become a widespread concern, affecting people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and geographical locations.

This shed light on the persistent nature of cybersecurity challenges in Vietnam. The increasing prevalence of data-encrypting viruses and the correlation with unlicensed software usage underscores the need for a multi-faceted approach, involving both technological solutions and user awareness campaigns.

Empowering Cybersecurity Resilience

The link between unlicensed software usage and cybersecurity threats highlights the importance of raising awareness and educating users about the risks associated with using unauthorized applications. Furthermore, addressing software piracy may reduce the impact of cyber threats on users.

Individuals and organizations must remain vigilant and implement cybersecurity measures to protect themselves from an ever-increasing range of threats. Cyber hygiene practices, such as using licensed software, regularly updating antivirus programs, and educating users about potential risks, are critical in strengthening defenses against the ever-changing cyber threat landscape.

Vietnam recognizes the importance of cybersecurity in the digital age and is actively pursuing comprehensive measures to create a secure digital landscape. Reflecting its commitment to citizen well-being, the country intends to strengthen cybersecurity, protect sensitive data, and maintain privacy standards as part of its commitment to fostering a safe and resilient online environment.

In line with its commitment to ensuring a secure digital environment, the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, which reports to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), partnered with major tech platforms in 2023 to combat the spread of toxic information and fake news. This collaborative effort required platforms to respond quickly to content that violated Vietnamese law, resulting in a remarkable response rate of over 90% for removal requests and a reduced processing time of 3-24 hours for handling and blocking violations.

Furthermore, as per the latest report from MIC covering the first half of 2023, out of Vietnam's 106 cybersecurity firms, 74 possess import permits for cybersecurity solutions, 29 are authorized for developing cybersecurity solutions, and 77 are licensed to offer cybersecurity services.

Vietnam's proactive approach to cybersecurity is a beacon of hope, demonstrating the importance of collaborative efforts in safeguarding our digital infrastructure and ensuring the integrity of online ecosystems. As we navigate the complexities of the digital age, it is important to continue to prioritize cybersecurity as a key pillar of modern society, ensuring that our digital endeavors are secure, resilient, and conducive to progress.

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