Vietnam’s financial sector had to adjust quickly to the rapidly changing landscape that Fintech innovations have brought. Not to mention the booming e-commerce industry and the impact of the global pandemic — Vietnam’s digital banking space is indeed thriving.
In fact, the country’s revenue from digital financial services is expected to hit $3.8 billion by 2025 and mobile transactions are likely to increase by 300% between 2021 and 2025, according to a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC)
Most Vietnamese banks, if not all, have either implemented or are already developing their digital transformation strategies. Furthermore, emerging firms are quick to make inroads into critical financial services and often take on more risk than traditional banks.
With all these rapid adaptions, innovations, and constant demand from the consumers to widen the coverage, the question is, is Vietnam safe to handle the financial threats that put banks and all the digital services at risk?
A global leader in cybersecurity solutions and services Kaspersky Lab said Vietnam is the safest in Southeast Asia.
Yeo Siang Tiong, the cybersecurity firm’s general manager for Southeast Asia, said in a recent interview with Sputnik information company that Kaspersky’s recent statistics showed the rate of fraud related to banks, payment systems, and online stores in Vietnam was lower than that of other countries in the region.
Yeo added the scam rate was 26.36% in Vietnam while it was 40.87% in Indonesia, 46.77% in Malaysia, 64,03% in the Philippines, 51.6% in Singapore, and 56.35% in Thailand. He said that Vietnam's efforts to ensure the security of virtual financial activities have been considerable.
The convenience of e-banking has attracted customers and provided service free of charge for customers. Digital products such as payment by quick response code (QR code), savings deposits, digital loans, and most recently, Electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) have been used by many people, especially at the height of COVID-19.
Kaspersky’s general manager also pointed out that the increase in online transactions in Vietnam during the global pandemic occurred in parallel with the rise of fraud conspiracies through the use of fake pages which impersonate popular payment systems such as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, among others.
In the same interview, Yeo said that the country’s digital transactions, such as online shopping, continue to increase daily. This growth, per Yeo, can be attributed to the Vietnamese Government’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness of financial and data security in the context that mobile banking and electronic wallets have been flourishing in the region.
He added: Vietnam is ready for a quick digital transformation and ensuring a safer financial environment for organizations and individuals due to strong infrastructure and threat intelligence sharing.
However, as reported by the local media in June, Kaspersky’s data revealed Vietnam had the highest number of malware attacks detected on mobile banking apps in Southeast Asia in 2021.
As many as 697 mobile banking attacks happened in the country last year, an increase of 131 cases from 2020. Kaspersky reported it had blocked a total of 43,171 mobile attack attempts in Vietnam in 2021, up 46.9% compared to 2020, with Trojan being the most common mobile malware in the country.
It’s fair to say it’s safer to use a desktop when accessing anything related to finance than mobile devices. In a 2019 report from IBM, it shows that users are three times more likely to fall victim to a phishing attack on a mobile device than on a desktop, and new phishing pages are being created every 20 seconds.
Despite being the safest in the region, Kaspersky advised users not to let their guard down, considering that attacks are becoming more sophisticated in terms of both malware functionality and vectors.