Companies wary of cybersecurity threats

May 08, 2024 | 12:08
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Cybersecurity has gained more attention during the annual general meeting season following the surge in ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2024.
Companies wary of cybersecurity threats

Cybersecurity was one of the hot topics raised by shareholders at SSI Securities Corporation's AGM on April 25. The topic was brought up following a cyberattack on Vietnamese brokerage VNDirect, causing the securities firm to temporarily suspend operations during the final week of March.

Nguyen Duy Hung, chairman of SSI Securities Corporation, said, “SSI is paying special attention to cybersecurity. We require frequent password changes through numerous stages of monitoring. In a system like ours, the first thing is to have a supervisor to detect intruders. When they enter the system, we must eliminate them immediately.”

"If a problem occurs, SSI must be able to start the backup system and speed up the recovery," he added.

At the AGM of PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PVOIL) on April 26, the company’s president and CEO Doan Van Nhuom, noted that, “PVOIL suffered a ransomware attack on April 2, which caused the suspension of the e-invoice issuance system. PVOIL was quick to work with regulatory bodies and cybersecurity experts to address the issue."

“To ensure petrol supplies, PVOIL used warehouse delivery and transportation notes. At the same time, the corporation and its members worked with authorities so that petrol tankers were connected during transportation,” he added.

In the first quarter of 2024, Ho Chi Minh City suffered about 12.7 million cases of information gathering attacks and around 1,800 cases of malicious code. About 2,300 incidents of cyberattacks on information systems were recorded in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2024.

Tran Minh Quan, senior manager of digital trust and cybersecurity services at PwC Vietnam, told VIR, “Ransomware attacks have been around for the past five years but started to soar during the pandemic. A number of companies suffered ransomware attacks with a small impact on PCs and individual information systems. However, these attacks didn’t cause disruptions to the entire organisation, like those in the VNDirect and PVOIL incidents.”

“Systems are often compromised at weekends when IT and security teams are less vigilant. The potential targets for the recent attacks are energy and utility companies such as telecom operators, oil and gas firms, and electricity and water companies, which have a major impact on the country.”

Quan suggested that businesses should invest in cybersecurity. Human resources also play an important role in ensuring the secure and resilient operation of the systems. Alternative approaches should be taken into consideration, such as outsourcing cybersecurity efforts, automation, and using AI to fill the shortage of cybersecurity personnel in Vietnam.

Mitigating cyber risks (hacking, ransomware, and surveillance) is a top priority for 2024, according to PwC’s 2024 Global Digital Trust Insights survey. Once malicious actors break into systems and networks, they often wreak havoc in as many ways as possible.

What may start as a cloud breach could very well become an advanced persistent threat as bad actors lurk inside your system, collecting data and looking for other ways to do harm. They might exfiltrate businesses’ data, then launch a ransomware attack, and leak the data, even if businesses pay the ransom.

“Any one of these incidents would be problematic on its own. Taken all together, they can devastate your business operations and your reputation. Mega breaches are increasing in number, scale, and cost. The percentage of those reporting costs of $1 million or more for their worst breach in the past three years rose to 36 per cent from 27 per cent last year,” PwC noted in the survey.

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