An Information Ministry official has warned that the development of new technologies can also have a negative effect on a nation.
Huy Saravuth, secretary of state with the Information Ministry, yesterday during a Cambodia-Vietnam cyber security forum in Phnom Penh said hacking and the spread of fake news can impact reputation, the economy, national defence and diplomatic relations.
“Hacking someone’s Facebook page for information can seriously impact the economy,” he said. “It can also ruin an individual’s reputation and damage public order.”
Mr Saravuth said that this year, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook account and the Information Ministry’s Facebook account were breached by hackers for a short period of time.
He noted that the Ministries of Information, Interior and Post and Telecommunication had been aware of the challenges posed by the development of information systems technology.
“If there’s a serious problem, every ministry will take measures and provide information to each other on how to take lawful action,” Mr Saravuth said, adding that cybercrime is a serious issue in North American and European countries.
“In 2018, the Information Ministry has sent 50 officers to conduct training for dealing with technical and management issues concerning information systems, especially about Facebook and YouTube,” he said.
Vu Quang Minh, Vietnamese ambassador to Cambodia, yesterday said many countries in Asia need to learn from what Cambodia is doing to educate the general public on how to properly use the internet.
“Based on what I know, the rate of new Cambodian Facebook users has been increasing,” Mr Vu said, noting that both countries are aware of both pros and cons of integrating with the rest of the world. “The governments of both countries are cooperating in all sectors, including politics, security and national defence and especially in the information technology sector.
He noted that the spread of false information has also affected the relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam.
According to Mr Saravuth, there are now about 12.5 million internet users in Cambodia, an increase when compared to 2017’s 10.8 million.
“In 2017, we had 4.8 million Facebook users. Now we have seven million users,” he added. “This year alone, most mobile users are on 2G, 3G and 4G networks.”
Im Vutha, spokesman for the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia, yesterday said the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication controls telecommunication infrastructure and that officials have created the International Coordination Group to provide information dissemination.
“Our ministry helps control the infrastructure,” Mr Vutha said. “If we encounter problems, we will take measures.”
“It is very important that we have laws regulating cyberspace,” he added. “There is a new draft created by the Interior Ministry.”
In August, Mr Hun Sen singled out the perpetrators who allegedly also vandalised the Facebook page of the National Election Committee about the same time his Facebook page was hacked.
“They can’t do anything, so they hacked Hun Sen’s Facebook page,” he said. “I hope the world will punish this cybercriminal.”