Lax internet security has resulted in a virtual boycott of Vietnam by online retailers, local press reports claim.
Security is so poor that malicious hackers have easy access to private information on state websites, a minister told reporters from the government-sponsored Vietnam Investment Review last week.
"Vietnam has been under an invisible 'soft' global embargo for online payments due to poor security," said Vu Duc Dam, deputy minister at the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Online payment gateways typically assume that blocks of internet address are less trustworthy if they have been the source of large numbers of fraudulent credit card transactions, or attempted transactions, in the past.
Payments from these untrusted addresses may require more thorough verification of identity, or may be blocked entirely.
Poor internet security increases the risk of being blocked in this manner, as malicious hackers sometimes take advantage of security vulnerabilities to hijack PCs in other nations through which to route fraudulent activity.
Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam's prime minister, is backing moves to establish a national department in charge of information security. The new department will have the twin goals of protecting government data and helping keep online payments secure.
Officials also warned that Vietnamese surfers are at risk of having their international emails blocked.
The country's sole commercial ISP, government-controlled Vietnam Data Communications Company, is now receiving 2,000 emails a day complaining about spam sent by its users or relayed through their computers, according to its director, La The Hung.
"The emails from international anti-spam organisations are the first warnings about emails from Vietnam," said Hung.
"They may put ISP servers on a blacklist and block email from Vietnam to the world if ISPs do not handle spam."
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