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Vietnam’s social networks run race with the world’s technology giants

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Governments around the world are trying to restrain the power of technology giants, which presents a great opportunity for Vietnam’s social networks to establish their foothold with their own characteristics.

Vietnam’s social networks run race with the world’s technology giants

Social media is one of the fastest growing technology trends, with 3.8 billion users as of the end of 2020.

Of the four Big Techs, including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, or GAFA, half are social network tycoons.

Though having made great contributions to creating a digital world, the two giants Google and Facebook have recently been involved in a number of problems.

The two social networks dominate the online ad market, which has created manipulation in the market and hindered competition from weaker rivals.

Google and Facebook now control 70 percent of the digital ad market in the US. Meanwhile, a report of eMarketer showed that the two companies make up more than half of online ad revenue in Vietnam.

In an effort to restrain the impact from Facebook and Google, Australia has become the first country to require the two giants to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty system.

In retaliation, Facebook blocked the content of the Australian press. Its action raised alarm bells over the threat that platforms owned by tech giants can cause.

This is not the first time that technology giants have challenged state power. Most recently, large social networks blocked the accounts of the former US President Donald Trump.

The big power of the Big Techs has caused concern among governments in the world and prompted them to take actions to restrain power.

Opportunities for Vietnam

These actions are believed to create great opportunities for smaller platforms, including Vietnam’s social networks.

Zalo is the largest Vietnamese social network with 60 million users as of November 2020, as estimated by VietNamNet. The second largest domestic network is Mocha with 12 million members, while the third and fourth positions belong to Gapo (6 million) and Lotus (2.5 million).

Regarding the growth rate, Zalo had 20 million more members just after two years, or 50 percent higher than in 2018.

As for Mocha, the number of users is not high, but the scale of the platform has increased by 2.67 times compared with two years ago. The others, including Gapo and Lotus, have also shown significant capability after one year of operation. Both of them made debut in 2019.

Zalo is the largest Vietnamese social network with 60 million users as of November 2020, as estimated by VietNamNet. The second largest domestic network is Mocha with 12 million members, while the third and fourth positions belong to Gapo (6 million) and Lotus (2.5 million).

Vietnam also has hundreds of forums, such as Tinhte with 16 million visits a month, Voz (11 million), Webtretho (7 million) and Otofun (2 million). These show the sustainable vitality of traditional social network platforms.

The figures show that Vietnam’s social networks in recent years have been growing rapidly both in quantity and quality, which serves as an important prerequisite for the development of Vietnamese businesses and the digital economy in the country in the future.

Which way to follow?

No matter how powerful they are, technology giants may also be defeated by changes in technology trends. The collapse of Yahoo and Nokia is an example.

Trends in the future include the appearance of centralized social networks, small-scale social networks (a fee is required), audio social networks, and social networks targeting domestic users or certain organizations or businesses.

In general, new social networks will not succeed if they just imitate Facebook. They need to find a ‘common denominator’, which are basic human needs, regardless of country, age, sex or profession.

New social networks should also allow players to determine their own “rules of the game”. This is done by opening algorithms.

Experts say new social networks could be built with the development of many ‘filters’ which would be tailored to the needs and conditions of every nation.

Once general questions are solved, people will have bigger demands – solving the questions of smaller groups that have more specific characteristics. These characteristics cannot be imitated, because only those who are born and grow up in a land can understand the culture of the locality. This presents a great opportunity for Vietnam’s social networks.

This is one of the reasons for the increasing popularity of Zalo. The social network has been going its own way as it has developed from a messaging app for mobile phones.

Zalo is a typical localized social network as it solves a question which cannot be done by others – allowing people to send image files to each other with high quality. Online public services and information portals have also been gradually integrated, turning Zalo into a reliable address for people to use when necessary.

Started in Vietnam and created by Vietnamese, made-in-Vietnam social networks understand well what Vietnamese want. They can win Vietnamese hearts and establish footholds for themselves. This is proof of the sustainable existence of Davids in the war with Goliaths. 

Trong Dat

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/vietnam-s-social-networks-run-race-with-the-world-s-technology-giants-731655.html

Sci-tech-environment

Vietnam police verify data leak and sale of 10,000 Vietnamese ID cards

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The personal data could be used by criminals to fraudulently appropriate property, forge documents to impersonate, and open a bank account.

The leak of personal data of nearly 10,000 Vietnamese identity cards (ID) for US$9,000 is under investigation, Maj. Gen. To An Xo, Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Public Security told local media on May 17.

It’s reported that an account named Ox1337xO, registered on RaidForums announced a sale of a 17GB database on May 13 of identification details of thousands of Vietnamese people.

The post was then deleted, To An Xo said, adding that it was still stored in the cache of Google search engine, and has raised serious concern over information safety.

In the sale advertisement, the hacker informed that he is selling data including name, date of birth, avatar, address, email, phone number, identity card number, and front and back ID card photos.

 Information of Vietnamese citizen ID card is sold on RaidForums. Photo: Zing

The hacker offered the data for US$9,000, paid by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Litecoin, or by Vietnamese dong through an intermediary who is also a member of the forum. In a recent move, the hacker said his/her offer was halved to only US$4,300.

According to Xo, the investigation shows that many sources can reveal people’s personal data.

Hackers can also steal information from personal data management units, especially those performing administrative transactions that require people to prove their identity.

“More seriously, the personal data could be used by criminals to fraudulently appropriate property, forge documents to impersonate, and open a bank account,” Xo said.

Vice President of Bkav Ngo Tuan Anh said that the 17G data included video clips, and the number of exposed user accounts was not high.

This is the data of Pi Network virtual currency; the true volume of ID card information leak is only a little, Tuan Anh said, adding that Ox1337xO is an anonymous name that has just been created and requires virtual currency as the payment method.

“It can be said that this data transaction is most likely a scam and there is no evidence to show an information leak from the national population database of Vietnam,” the Bkav vice president confirmed.

However, he also commented that this is a serious issue as the information of nearly 10,000 people, including sensitive ones such as the front and back pictures of citizen ID cards, is exposed.

Hanoitimes

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/vietnam-police-verify-data-leak-and-sale-of-10-000-vietnamese-id-cards-737799.html

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Mekong Delta needs over US$346 mln to tackle severe landslides

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The Mekong Delta’s localities need around VND8,143 billion (US$352 million) to cope with 76 severe landslide and erosion points along the riverside and coastal areas with a total length of 140 kilometers.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the worse landslides in the Mekong Delta have been due to the exploitation of water resources on the upstream rivers, especially the hydropower projects in the Mekong river’s mainstream during nearly a decade.

Mekong Delta needs over US$346 mln to tackle severe landslides
The worse landslide at seadykes of Ca Mau Peninsula.

With the urgent situation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is coordinating with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and other relevant units to propose the Prime Minister for a financial assistance of VND2 trillion (US$86.5 million) from World Bank’s capital sources  to support the Mekong Delta region to promptly implement works to cope with landslide.

Additionally, the ministry is reviewing the landslide hazard levels, building dyke system database and repairing landslide areas along the riverside and coastal areas in the Mekong Delta region, especially residential areas at high risk of landslide along Tien River and Hau River.

Mekong Delta needs over US$346 mln to tackle severe landslides
A landslide occurs in Can Tho.

From 2018 up to now, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been coordinating with relevant agencies and units proposing the Government, the Prime Minister and the National Assembly to give Mekong Delta provinces financial assistance of around VND6,622 billion (US$287 million) from different financial sources to deal with nearly 157-kilometer long landslides along riverside and coastal areas, contributing to stabilize the people’s lives.

SGGP

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/mekong-delta-needs-over-us-346-mln-to-tackle-severe-landslides-737517.html

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Personal data of 10,000 Vietnamese offered for sale online

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Personal information such as identity cards, selfie images and others of 9,667 people are being posted and offered for sale on the Internet for $9,000.

An account named Ox1337xO, created on RaidForums in May 2021, announced a sale of a 17GB data package on May 13. This package is supposed to include details of citizen ID cards of many Vietnamese people. The post was then deleted, but was still stored in the cache of Google search engine, and has raised serious concern over information safety.

Dữ liệu cá nhân 10.000 người Việt bị rao bán trên mạng

In his article, the hacker advertised that the data includes name, date of birth, avatar, address, email, phone number, identity card number, and photos of the identity cards of the back and front side.

The hacker offered the data for $9,000, paid by cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin or Litecoin, or by Vietnamese dong through an intermediary who is also a member of the forum. In a recent move, the hacker said he was willing to sell the data for only $4,300.

Mr. Ngo Tuan Anh, Bkav’s Vice President in charge of cybersecurity, said that the 17G data included video clips, and the number of exposed user accounts was not high.

Dữ liệu cá nhân 10.000 người Việt bị rao bán trên mạng

Besides, as this is merely the data of Pi Network cryptocurrency, the true volume of ID card information leak is only a little. Adding to this is the fact that Ox1337xO is an anonymous name which has just been created and requires cryptocurrency as the payment method.

Therefore, it can be said that this data transaction is most likely a scam.

BKAV’s Tuan Anh confirmed that there is no evidence to show an information leak from the national population database of Vietnam.

However, he also commented that this is a serious issue since the information of nearly 10,000 people, including sensitive ones such as eKYC clips and the front and back pictures of citizen ID card, is illegally sold publicly.

Trong Dat/Van Anh

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/personal-data-of-10-000-vietnamese-offered-for-sale-online-737456.html

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