Sunday, April 5 2020


Personal data leaks carry high risks

Update: July, 25/2019 - 09:12

HÀ NỘI — Mai Thuỳ Linh, 32, has received several spam messages and at least two spam calls each day over the past week, which makes her very annoyed.

The spam messages and calls are about different things, from real estate and insurance packages to gymnastics memberships and hotels.

“The thing I worry about the most is how they get my number,” Linh said.

Linh is not alone. Many have experienced their private information being leaked, with more of our lives migrating online.

Statistics from the Ministry of Information and Communications show that the ministry received 21,888 complaints from mobile subscribers about spam messages and calls in the first six months of this year. The number is about 48.7 per cent lower than the same period last year.

Reasons and risks

Nguyễn Minh Đức, director of CyRadar Joint Stock Company – the first information security company in Việt Nam – told Vietnam Plus online newspaper that the leaks of private information were caused by internet users themselves.

For example, information related to date of birth, phone numbers, school, workplace and home address could easily be seen on social networking sites, he said.

According to experts, users of online shopping websites who provide their personal data are also to blame for the situation. People could experience the leak of information when they use online applications that required accessing a photo gallery or managing calls in their smartphone.

As well as annoyance, these leaks carry a range of risks.

Nguyễn Hữu Trung, an information security expert working for BKAV Corporation, said a survey taken in three big cities, which provided free Wi-Fi service, pointed out that there were three major risks affecting free Wi-Fi users – eavesdropping, phishing and theft of personal data.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity training specialist Ngô Việt Khôi said: “The longer you use a social networking site, the more information hackers can get.”

Khôi also said with the application of artificial intelligence, the collected information would be processed, creating databases that can be sold on. Thus, when users publicly shared their personal data, they would no longer be able to control how their personal data is used or shared.


Nguyễn Trọng Đường, director of the Việt Nam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT), advised that first, people should use copyrighted software. Second, people should install applications, supplied by trusted businesses and should avoid accessing unknown websites.

Đường suggested people use anti-virus software to protect their personal devices.

“Lastly, minimising the provision and sharing of personal data is considered to be one of the best ways,” he said.

In another move, the Federal Trade Commission was set to announce yesterday that Facebook has agreed to a sweeping settlement of significant allegations it mishandled user privacy and pay US$5 billion, two people briefed on the matter said, Reuters reported.

The commission confirmed in March 2018 it had opened an investigation into allegations Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The probe has focused on whether the data sharing violated a 2011 consent agreement between Facebook and the regulator and then widened to include other privacy allegations.— VNS

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