Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, Vingroup, has added cybersecurity to its services, expanding a business that already stretches from real estate to cars to shopping malls.

The business announced last week it obtained an international certification for the technology it uses to verify online user logins. The certification comes from the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, a trade group whose board members represent the likes of Lenovo, the LINE chat application and eBay.

Cybersecurity is a growing area of concern for Vietnam, where common use of pirated software makes computers vulnerable to cyberattack. Vingroup said it obtained certification for one of its many subsidiaries, the VinCSS Internet Security Services Limited Liability Company.

“This success of VinCSS will make a big change in defense activities of modern network security in Vietnam,” Nguyen Phi Kha, director of research and development at VinCSS, said.

Secure internet logins

The news is part of a growing trend globally to make internet logins more secure. Under the traditional system that requires people to have account names and passwords, users often forget passwords, use the same one for various accounts, or use passwords that hackers can guess by running software that applies common dictionary words to log in.

The FIDO Alliance aims to transition away from this over-reliance on passwords. Some say organizations should use two-factor authentication, such as using SMS text messages in addition to passwords, while others say SMS is too easy to hack. They instead recommend biometric authentication, including with thumbprints.

“Never before have service providers and developers had the ability to enable convenient, cryptographically secure authentication to a user base this broad,” Andrew Shikiar, executive director and chief marketing officer of the FIDO Alliance, said of the trend. “Service providers are now taking advantage of these new capabilities on a global scale.”

New cyber offerings

The Vingroup subsidiary said now that it had the international certification, it would proceed to develop cyber offerings such as security for the internet of things, which refers to connected devices like toasters and smart plugs. These IoT devices are considered less secure because many of them are mass produced at a low cost and come with no or poor default password settings, which are easy to access by malicious actors.

VinCSS also aims to create what it calls a “Zero Trust Platform,” which involves trusting no users and verifying all of them, as opposed to trusting users that are already inside an organization.

“With our team of world-class experts, in the coming time, VinCSS will continue to introduce a series of practical products and services,” Kha said.

Changes in works for Vingroup

The announcement from his company came as Vingroup is pulling back from other businesses, most recently stating that it would no longer pursue establishment of a new airline.

And in December, Vingroup also said it would merge its convenience store, e-commerce and agricultural businesses with Masan, another Vietnamese giant, leaving Vingroup less directly involved in those sectors. 

The publicly listed conglomerate has a market capitalization of $13.7 billion, making it the most valuable in the nation and making its founder Vietnam’s richest man.

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