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25-year-old expert in information security honored by European institution

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Pham Thai Son at the age of 25 is leading an important division at the Authority of Information Security under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC). 

He has been honored by information security institutions for his contributions as a white-hat hacker.

25-year-old expert in information security honored by European institution

Pham Thai Son

Why did you decide to study information security?

When I was at general school, I loved to play with computers and liked games. Later, I decided to enroll in the IT Faculty at Hanoi University of Science and Technology.

At that moment, information security was a hot keyword. I liked to discover things and did not like working with codes all day long, so I chose information security.

You are very young. But you are leading a large team.

Our team has 10 members. Besides, I am also leading a group of 20 interns.

I hope that young people now have a better environment than we had in the past. Besides, I like working with young people because I can learn many things from them. Young people always have breakthrough mindsets and they don’t always follow traditional ways.

What are your tasks?

Our task, in simple words, is ensuring information security for the information systems of ministries, branches and state-owned economic groups.

I hope that young people now have a better environment than we had in the past. Besides, I like working with young people because I can learn many things from them. Young people always have breakthrough mindsets and they don’t always follow traditional ways.

Pham Thai Son, Authority of Information Security 

Nội dung

We try to ‘attack’ some certain systems. After we ‘succeed’, we will report to organizations about the existing vulnerabilities, so they can fix the problems before they are attacked by someone from outside. We will also suggest solutions to fix the problems.

Your team has recently made a big contribution to ensure information security for apps to work from a distance. Could you please elaborate on this?

One of the works we have done recently is assessing the information security of the apps to be used for the National Assembly online conferencing.

Previously, the conferences were organized in one place, so the risk for being attacked was low. But now, deputies are in different places, so the risks are higher.

We heard that you have been honored by the European computer emergency response institution for your contribution to Europe’s security in 2020?

I reported an error on the website of the European Commision. This was a bug that allowed hackers to penetrate deep into their deep system.

I am single, and I don’t have many things to do. So, when I am at home, I work with computers and try to find something to ‘attack’. This is also a way for me to improve my ability.

Do you usually do this to ‘tease’ people and institutions like this?

(Smile). The coffee shop we are in now was once ‘attacked’ by me. I often go here at lunchtime and I know they have an app. I found some vulnerabilities of the app and reported to them. They replied very quickly and gave me some vouchers as gifts.

You are drinking the coffee you buy with these vouchers?

(Smile). I don’t use vouchers anymore.

What would you say about the information security levels of the agencies?

I think that as the information systems develop with more equipment, software and users, the existence of vulnerabilities will be unavoidable.

No one can say for sure that the systems are 100 percent safe. No vulnerability is found now, but they will appear just after one or two weeks.

Therefore, systems need to be updated regularly and there should be teams in charge of information security so as to avoid risks.

Digital transformation means that everything will be digitized and the IT infrastructure will expand rapidly. So, our task is ensuring information security for information systems.

What are the biggest challenges for you?

A lot of big events are taking place this year, including the Party Congress. Meanwhile, because of Covid-19, many things have gone online. The biggest challenge for us is the limited workforce, but the workload is really big. 

Nguyen Thao

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/25-year-old-expert-in-information-security-honored-by-european-institution-681498.html

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Creating ‘digital trust’ with Make in Vietnam open-technology products

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Vietnam has become one of the first countries in the world commercializing 5G on a trial basis. Software engineers have made a great contribution to the achievement as Vietnam’s 5G network will use open standards.

Developing national information systems with open technology is the key to creating digital trust.

Creating 'digital trust' with Make in Vietnam open-technology products

With Make in Vietnam 5G equipment and terminals, Vietnam can master the major elements of a 5G ecosystem, which is important for 5G to be implemented by this year end.

Vietnam ranks 20th in open source software application

The Sysnopsy’s Open Source Security and Risk Analysis Report 2020 report showed that an audit of 1,260 closed software source codebases in 17 industries found that 99 percent of codebases contained open source components. All codebases in 9 out of 17 industries contain open source components.

Up to 70 percent of source codes in codebases are open source codes. The figure is twice as much as in 2015 (36 percent). Ninety percent of codebases since 2019 contain open source components.

According to Sysnopsys, there are 445 open source components in each codebase. More than 90 percent of IT firms use open source software for important apps.

A report from GitHub said that Vietnam ranks 20th among non-US countries and territories in utilizing open source codes. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam ranks third, behind Singapore and Indonesia.

However, when considering the proportion, Vietnam is far behind China, India, Germany, the UK and Japan. It is on the same par with Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia.

The growth rate of open source projects and the contribution to open source codes in Vietnam remain modest.

Though Vietnam began approaching the open source trend in the 2000s, its open technology growth rate has been slower than some other countries. This is attributed to a closed culture mechanism, localization in data protection and management, and the lack of interest from large corporations.

The main cause is that Vietnam doesn’t have a technology development tradition, because the economy is at a fairly average level, with the science and technology level still low. Vietnam has few scientific and technological inventions and patents.

Using open technology is the only way for Vietnam to master technologies, catch up with the world, and become an IT powerhouse.

Mastering open technology

Developing open technology, open source software, and opening data to businesses and individuals to create new value is the new orientation.

A report from GitHub said that Vietnam ranks 20th among non-US countries and territories in utilizing open source codes. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam ranks third, behind Singapore and Indonesia.

This was confirmed by the head of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Nguyen Manh Hung at Vietnam Open Summit 2020. The event was organized to show Vietnam’s strategy and action plan on developing and mastering digital technology with open standards.

Vietnam’s open technology development in the time to come will focus on three pillars, namely the Make in Vietnam open ecosystem, open culture promotion, and open community development.

Vietnam has recently made significant investments to develop open technologies. The introduction of apps, including Bluezone and CoMeet, is evidence.

Developed on the open source code basis, users and more than 100 IT engineers contributed to the development of Bluezone. Thanks to the open source code, the app tracking suspected Covid-19 infections won people’s confidence, with more than 22 million downloads.

Viettel, BKAV and CMC are the technology firms leading open technology development.

Nguyen Tu Quang, CEO of BKAV, said the corporation began investing in AI camera some years ago. In 2018, BKAV set up AI Institute as it realized the big potential of AI application.

The corporation last November exported the first AI cameras to be installed at the head office of Qualcomm in San Diego, California.

At Qualcomm, the cameras from Vietnam will be an important element of the group’s smart city development strategy.

The AI View cameras manufactured by BKAV are developed with Open AI View. The use of an open platform helps to gain confidence from international partners.

As for CMC, the group chose OpenStack to build CMC Open Cloud and Elastic Stack to create SOC. These are all open source codes available on GitHub.

Luong Tuan Thanh, chief technology officer of CMC Group, said with the development of products with open source codes, all the expenses related to software copyright will be used to develop human resources. CMC is following this path to develop its specialists and build an open culture.

Viettel, the mobile network operator, chose to master 5G technology based on OpenRAN. This was a daring move compared with the use of the traditional Radio Access Network. By doing so, Viettel can escape reliance on foreign equipment suppliers. 

Trong Dat

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/creating-digital-trust-with-make-in-vietnam-open-technology-products-694575.html

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Mekong Delta faces decline in wild birds, fish and plants

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The number of species of wild birds, fish, and plants in the Mekong Delta has fallen rapidly in recent years because of a decline in food resources and natural habitats.

Mekong Delta faces decline in wild birds, fish and plants hinh anh 1

Birds in Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap province 

In Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap province, 13 bird species are in danger of extinction and need protection, according to park authorities.

The species include red-headed cranes, white- winged ducks, yellow-breasted buntings, common kestrels, eastern grass owls, eastern marsh-harriers, spot billed pelicans and painted storks.

The number of red-headed cranes returning to the park fell from more than 1,000 in 1988 to nine in 2019, and none this year. This was partly due to a decline in areas of grass which provide food for the bird, which are the symbol of the park.

The park, which covers an area of more than 7,300ha and contains mostly cajuput trees, is a Ramsar wetlands site of international importance.

The park has about 800ha of lua ma, which can be translated as ‘ghost rice’ (Oryza rufipogon) for its ability to survive flooding. The rice variety has genes which scientists use to create new rice varieties as the rice can grow in alum-affected soil and is highly resistant to diseases transmitted by brown planthoppers and white-backed planthoppers, and can grow in deep floodwater.

In the past, lua ma grew wildly in the delta’s flooded areas during the flooding season, but the rice variety now exists in only a few places in the delta, including in the park.

In An Giang and Dong Thap, the number of basa catfish fish in the wild has become scarce because of the low level of floods caused by the rising level of the Mekong River in the rainy season.

In Cà Mau province, which is the country’s largest shrimp producer, the number of wild birds has declined significantly in recent years because of hunters and fewer rice fields.

Overhunting has also led to the decline in wild birds, according to experts.

To preserve endangered fauna and flora species, local authorities in the delta have focused on preserving wetland areas and forests to provide natural habitats for birds, fish and plants.   

In Ca Mau, authorities are implementing a plan to develop the Ca Mau City bird garden located in the Ho Chi Minh President monument area in the 2018-20 period.

They have planted more trees to provide a better habitat for birds, upgraded water ditches in the garden to supply clean water for birds, and solved pollution caused by bird waste.

The 3.1ha garden has about 53 species and 6,600 birds. The number of wild birds at the garden can reach more than 12,000 in the peak reproductive season in June and December.

In Dong Thap, local authorities are preserving three wetland areas – Tram Chim National Park, the 279ha Go Thap Relic Area in Thap Muoi district, and the 63ha Xeo Quyt Relic Area in Cao Lanh district.

Every year, the three wetland areas, in cooperation with the province’s Forest Protection Sub- department, devise plans to protect their biodiversity.

Since 2016, the sub-department, in cooperation with the people’s committees of communes where there are wetland areas and forests, has organised 40 courses for 2,000 residents about legal regulations that protect  forests, biodiversity and wild animals.

It has also given local people 1,650 booklets and 19,000 leaflets about protection of wild animals in the forests.

The Tram Chim National Park is taking steps to  preserve the wetland ecosystem and the genes of flora and fauna species, especially endangered birds like the red-headed crane and white-winged duck.

The park has more than 130 flora species, 129 freshwater fish species, 198 water birds, and 29 amphibian species./.VNS

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/mekong-delta-faces-decline-in-wild-birds-fish-and-plants-694850.html

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Few construction works are green

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Only 155 construction works have been certified as green as of Q3 2020, according to IFC, a modest number compared with other Southeast Asian countries and the rest of the world.

Realizing the high demand for green construction, especially green high-rises, many real estate developers are advertising that their products are green to boost sales.

Few construction works are green

“Green’, ‘natural’ and ‘ecological’ are the words most seen in advertisements run by developers when opening new products for sale. The images of green trees, green space and green life are used in sales designs. However, the advertisements and reality are quite different.

However, it is true that construction firms have changed their development strategies, striving to launch products with ‘green elements’ and energy efficiency.

The demonstration projects of UNDP on technical solutions to minimize energy consumption in newly built and improved works show that the energy saving levels could be 25-67 percent per work, and the cost is higher by 0-3 percent and maximum capital recovery 5 years.

However, according to IFC, as of the third quarter, Vietnam had only 155 construction works officially certified as green.

The problem is that when developing a green construction building, businesses have to pay additional costs of 10-15 percent.

Some analysts say that the additional 10-15 percent cost is inconsiderable for high-end works and is acceptable for developers. However, 10 percent is high for common houses compared with the average income of Vietnamese.

Speaking about the green trend at an annual real estate forum, Nguyen Cong Thinh, deputy director of the Science, Technology and the Environment Department under the Ministry of Construction (MOC), said that despite clear economic benefits in energy consumption and environment, not many real estate developers have certificates for green works.

Thinh attributes this to insufficient regulations related to management, support and encouragement to develop green works. There are not regulations requiring construction work owners to make an investment and run works in accordance with green standards.

Meanwhile, the experience of investors, consultants and contractors in green work design and construction remains modest. Besides, banks and financial institutions are not enthusiastic about funding green works.

MOC and UNDP are organizing Vietnam Green Work Week 2020, which will gather speakers from ministries and branches, international and domestic experts, and technological solution and material suppliers.

According to MOC, the government has committed to a 9 percent reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions compared with normal development and increase the contribution to 27 percent if there is international support by 2030, as updated by NDC (nationally determined contributions). 

Thanh Hung

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/few-construction-works-are-green-694579.html

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