17/10/2022 09:23

Vietnam: How is hacking another person's social network accounts be punished?

Vietnam: How is hacking another person's social network accounts be punished?

Recently, there have been many cases of facebook accounts of famous artists being hacked. The hacker then arbitrarily changed the name or posted status on the artist's personal page. Although the above cases have not caused any serious consequences, I think the privacy of the artists has been violated and can be revealed at any time. I want to ask that how such behaviors of hacking a facebook account could be punished if it is reported. (Minh Quan – Tien Giang)

Hello Mr. Quan, for your request, LawNet would like to give answer as following: 

Hacking another one's social network account is one of the prohibited acts in prevention and response to cyber espionage; protection of state-secret information, business secrets, family secrets and privacy in cyberspace. Pursuant to Article 17 of the Cybersecurity Law 2018 of Vietnam, prohibited acts including:

- Illegal obtainment, trade, collection, deliberate revelation of information classified as state secret information, work secrets, business secrets, family secrets and privacy which harm the dignity, reputation or lawful rights and interests of another organization or individual;

- Deliberate deletion, causing damage, loss or changes to information classified as state-secret information, work secrets, business secrets, family secrets and privacy that is transmitted or stored in cyberspace;

- Deliberately changing, canceling or neutralizing a technical measure that is meant to protect state-secret information, work secrets, business secrets, family secrets or privacy;

- Posting state-secret information, work secrets, business secrets, family secrets and privacy in cyberspace against the law;

- Illegally eavesdropping or recording conversations;

- Other acts that are considered deliberate violation of state-secret information, work secrets, business secrets, family secrets or privacy in cyberspace.

Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, the act of hacking another person's social network account may be administratively handled or prosecuted for criminal liability.

1. Administrative sanction

Pursuant to Article 80 of the Decree No. 15/2020/ND-CP:

- A fine ranging from VND 10,000,000 to VND 20,000,000 shall be imposed for decrypting, stealing and/or using passwords, cryptographic keys and information of other organizations/individuals in cyberspace.

- A fine ranging from VND 30,000,000 to VND 50,000,000 shall be imposed for the commission of one of the following violations:

+ Illegally accessing networks or digital devices of others to override such devices or change/delete information stored on such devices or change setting parameters or collect information of others;

+ Infiltrating, altering or deleting information of other organizations/individuals in cyberspace;

+ Obstructing the information system’s provision of services;

+ Preventing the access to information of other organizations/individuals in cyberspace, unless such prevention is permitted by law;

+ Causing insecurity or breaking confidentiality of information exchanged, transmitted or stored in cyberspace of other organizations/individuals.

Foreigners who commit one of the above mentioned acts shall be deported from the territory of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

2. Criminal prosecution

For acts of serious nature and consequences, depending on the purpose after hacking a social network account, the person performing the act may be criminally prosecuted for one of the following crimes:

- Illegal provision or use of information on computer networks or telecommunications networks (Article 288 of the Criminal Code 2015 of Vietnam):

If a person, through hacking a social network account, commits any of the following acts and earns an illegal profit of from VND 50,000,000 to under VND 200,000,000 or causes property damage assessed at from VND 100,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000 or damages reputation of an organization or individual shall be liable to a fine of from VND 30,000,000 to VND 200,000,000 or face a penalty of up to 03 years' community sentence or 03 - 36 months' imprisonment:

+ Uploading information on a computer or telecommunications network against regulations of law, except in the circumstances specified in Article 117, 155, 156 and 326 hereof;

+ Trading, exchanging, giving, changing or publishing lawfully private information of an organization or individual on the computer or telecommunications network without the consent of the information owner;

+ Other acts that involve illegal use of information on the computer or telecommunications network.

This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a fine of from VND 200,000,000 to VND 1,000,000,000 or a penalty of 02 - 07 years' imprisonment:

+ The offence is committed by an organized group;

+ The offender misuses his/her position as the administrator of the computer or telecommunications network;

+ The illegal profit earned is ≥ VND 200,000,000;

+ The property damage caused by the offence is assessed at ≥ VND 500,000,000;

+ The offence involves infringement of privacy which results in the suicide of the victim;

+ The offence has a negative impact on social security, order or safety or Vietnam's diplomatic relationship;

+ The offence results in a demonstration.

Additional penalties: the offender might also be liable to a fine of from VND 20,000,000 to VND 200,000,000 or prohibited from holding certain positions or doing certain jobs for 01 - 05 years.

- Illegal infiltration into the computer network, telecommunications network or electronic device of another person (Article 289 of the Criminal Code 2015 of Vietnam):

Any person who deliberately bypasses the warning, hacks the password or firewall or uses the administrator’s right of another person to infiltrate another person's computer network, telecommunications network or electronic device in order to take control, interfere the operation of the electronic device; steal, change, destroy, fabricate data or illegally use services shall be liable to a fine of from VND 50,000,000 to VND 300,000,000 or face a penalty of 01 - 05 years' imprisonment.

This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a fine of from VND 300,000,000 to VND 1,000,000,000 or a penalty of 03 - 07 years' imprisonment:

+ The offence is committed by an organized group;

+ The offender abuses his/her position or power to commit the offence;

+ The illegal profit earned is from VND 200,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000;

+ The property damage caused by the offence is assessed at from VND 300,000,000 to under VND 1,000,000,000;

+ The offence is committed against a national Internet exchange point, domain name database system or national domain name server system;

+ Dangerous recidivism.

This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 07 - 12 years' imprisonment:

+ The offence is committed against a system of data which is classified information or an information system serving national defense and security;

+ The offence is committed against a national information infrastructure; national grid control information system; banking or finance information system; traffic control information system;

+ The illegal profit earned is ≥ VND 500,000,000;

+ The property damage caused by the offence is assessed at ≥ VND 1,000,000,000.

Additional penalties: the offender might also be liable to a fine of from VND 5,000,000 to VND 50,000,000 or prohibited from holding certain positions or doing certain jobs for 01 - 05 years.

- Appropriation of property using a computer network, telecommunications network or electronic device (Article 290 of the Criminal Code 2015 of Vietnam): if a person commits the crime infringes on other person's social network accounts in order to appropriate property.

In addition, if the act of hacking personal accounts to post image and content that is offensive to the honor and dignity of others, they may also be prosecuted for the crime of "insults to another person" according to provisions in Clause 2 Article 155 of the Criminal Code 2015 of Vietnam.

Phuong Uyen
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