Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has a goal to become an IT outsourcing powerhouse within the next 10 years, according to the White Book that summarises the state of the nation’s ICT.

IT, NSCIT, private sector, BKAV, IP laws

The National Steering Committee on Information Technology (NSCIT) and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) are charged with the implementation of Directive No. 58 of the Politburo and the introduction of the National Strategy on Transforming Vietnam into an advanced ICT country, which was approved by the Prime Minister in September 2010.

ICT security will be addressed by the setting up of the National Center for Network Security Technology, with a budget of $42 million in the coming decade overseen by the Ministry of Public Security, the Government Secrecy Committee and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In addition the comprehensive Law on Information Security which has just closed for public comment in July 2013 seeks to update the laws applicable to internet crime and security. These moves are 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 cyber-attacks that might originate in Vietnam, a criticism that has dogged the sector over recent years.

In fact, a scan of publicly available real time internet security threats tracked by Network Box, a Hong Kong based Network security company, indicate that during the day Vietnam is regularly cited within the top three sources of malware globally after China. Given that internet use within the country is approximately 40 per cent but that broadband penetration is only 1.85 per cent according to Akamai, an IT industry group, this would indicate the problem is with compromised computer systems being harnessed as part of a botnet. These may be office based including public and private sector industries that are ‘always on’ and connected via broadband, rather than personal computers used at home in the evening.

This is of concern as Vietnam’s bandwidth, whilst showing year on year increase, has not resulted in better performance. Quite the contrary, even a relatively small percentage of global malware can in fact consume a large proportion of the bandwidth, slowing down the internet in Vietnam and causing further economic losses.

According to figures from Akamai’s internet speed report, global average internet connection speeds increased by 5 per cent year-on-year in 2012 in their State of the Internet report. Their report showed that Vietnam had the average speed of 1.471 Mbps, about the same as Indonesia and lower than the average level of 2.9 Mbps in the world, yet a year earlier Vietnam’s average speed was 1.7Mbps (Q4 2012 figures). Thirteen per cent of internet connections had a speed lower than 256 Kbps, with only 2 per cent having a speed higher than 5 Mbps. In the 11-country ASEAN bloc, Vietnam ranked well behind Thailand (3.257 Mbps) and behind Malaysia (2.299 Mbps).

A 2013 TRPC report from Singapore on leased lines and ethernet pricing in 2012 reported that despite overall price falls in the region, Indonesia and Malaysia have been joined by Vietnam with the cost for some lines in being up to three times that of Thailand, for example, with consistently higher prices across most categories of leased circuits, and by the Philippines for ethernet prices. Bandwidth is therefore an expensive resource to squander on the redistribution of criminal software. Better protection of this economic asset makes sense.

A recent report from Bach Khoa Internetwork Security Centre (BKAV) in March 2013 indicated that the problem is getting worse, not better. BKAV showed that 93 per cent of Vietnam’s PCs became infected at least once by a virus during 2012, up 5 per cent compared to the previous year. BKAV also said that the main factor attributed to PCs in Vietnam becoming infected was cracked or unlicenced (pirated) software. In July 2013 BKAV said they had discovered that the malware turning the victim computers into “zombies” was located in the Common Files folder of the Windows operation system, and it created a fake Bluetooth Service to run when the computers started up.

According to industry group the Business Software Alliance, in 2012, 81 per cent of PC’s in Vietnam use illegal or pirated software, compared to the average of 60 per cent for the rest of the region. Whilst a slight improvement over previous years and by no means the highest (Indonesia is higher), when compared to Vietnam’s economic peers such as Thailand (72 per cent) and Malaysia (55 per cent), the figure is unacceptably high for an economy that wants to attract inward investment into the knowledge industries that are part of the national economic plan for growth. As we move into the era of Cloud Computing, secure, fast and affordable connectivity will be vital for Vietnam’s growth.

To combat the above issues a combination of IT security education at schools aimed in particular to younger people, small and medium sized enterprises and public sector education with incentives to install anti-virus programmes (and keep them updated), and robust enforcement of the current IP laws on software piracy, would be good places to start.

By Michael Mudd, Managing Partner of Asia Policy Partners LLC

Source: VIR

By vivian