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Legal forum good for ASEAN cybersecurity efforts: Vietnam

Joint efforts enable ASEAN to champion efforts in cybersecurity and inspire international participation.

A legal forum on cyber security in ASEAN to exchange experiences in policymaking on emerging issues in this field will keep the evolving threat landscape at bay, Vietnam made the suggestion at the 6th ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) held on Oct 4-8.

 Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Public Security Luong Tam Quang at the conference on Oct 6. Photo: Pham Kien/ VNA

Cooperation through joint drills helps improve capacity in protecting critical information infrastructure (CII), preventing and combating cyberattacks, and overcoming network security incidents, Deputy Minister of Public Security Luong Tam Quang said on Oct 6 at the event held in Singapore both in-person and virtually.

“It is necessary to develop a joint and long-term training plan with the support of dialogue partners who have advantages in technology-based social management,” Quang said in a statement.

The collaboration should prioritize important areas such as law-making; digital investigation and data analysis; preventing and combating transnational organized crime in the fields of finance, banking, and money laundering; electronic money management, fake news tackling; and personal data protection.

The joint efforts are aimed at “Moving Toward a Resilient ASEAN Cybersecurity Regime,” he stated.

For that reason, Vietnam supports Singapore and ASEAN member states’ viewpoint on the ASEAN Cybersecurity Cooperation Strategy for 2021-2025 that stipulated the regional recognition, action, and vision in cybersecurity towards the global cooperation in this field.

Addressing the event, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo expressed concerns about increasing ransomware attacks and the need for international cooperation to build consensus on the rules, norms, principles, and standards governing cyberspace.

At the conference, ASEAN members believed that joint efforts will help ensure states behave responsibly in their use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for an open, secure, and interoperable ICT environment. In doing so, they can strengthen the rules-based multilateral order.

ASEAN champions efforts in cybersecurity

In 2018, ASEAN members reached a landmark decision by subscribing, in principle, to the UN norms of responsible state behavior, agreeing to focus on regional capacity building on implementing the norms.

The UN’s 11 non-binding norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace include interstate cooperation on security, a commitment to not damage critical infrastructure and instead protect it, respond to requests for assistance, ensure supply chain security and report ICT vulnerabilities.

Currently, being the only regional organization to adopt the UN’s 11 norms of state cyberspace behavior, ASEAN pledges to drive deeper collaboration and interoperability amongst member states and calls for other international communities to cooperate amid increasing cyber threats.

ASEAN is making further progress through the development of the ASEAN Regional Action Plan, which will guide regional norms implementation.

Members states had underscored the importance of “a rules-based cyberspace” to drive economic progress and improve living standards.

Speaking at the ACC, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said the global pandemic underscored the need for a coordinated approach to address cyber threats.

Without “resolute action” within member states, these challenges would significantly undermine the resilience of and trust in the region’s digital economies and prevent them from realizing their full potential, he noted.

He said the member states already worked to enhance the region’s cybersecurity posture, including efforts to strengthen partnerships amongst the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to build “mutual trust” in dealing with security incidents.

According to American management consulting firm Kearney as the region is poised to take its position amongst the world’s top digital economies, ASEAN is wide open for cyberattacks, requiring a radical agenda that can help policymakers and industry leaders defend and capture a wealth of value.