Vietnam’s National Cybersecurity Center hires former cybercriminal

By Luu Quy, Phan Anh   December 5, 2020 | 01:17 am PT
Vietnam’s National Cybersecurity Center hires former cybercriminal
Ngo Minh Hieu, a convicted hacker who has been hired by Vietnam’s National Cybersecurity Center as a technical expert. Photo courtesy of Ngo Minh Hieu.
Ngo Minh Hieu, a convicted hacker who once stole the personal information of 200 million Americans, has recently been recruited by Vietnam’s National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC).

Hieu, 31, who was imprisoned in the U.S. for about seven years until 2019, on Thursday posted an image on his Facebook account showing his application to the NCSC.

He is the only NCSC employee in HCMC, he said.

The center, which operates under the Ministry of Information and Communications, said it is "in the process of taking in Ngo Minh Hieu as a technical expert."

He would do technical research and find solutions to help keep people and businesses’ information safe on the Internet, it said.

Between 2007 and 2013 he stole personal data, including names, birth dates, social security numbers, and bank account information from online marketplaces, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He sold the information for nearly $2 million, it said.

Hieu was arrested by the Secret Service when he entered U.S. territory in 2013. In 2015, he was sentenced to 13 years in jail for hacking into U.S. businesses’ computers, stealing personally identifiable information and selling information belonging to some 200 million U.S. citizens, the Department of Justice said.

He was released early in 2019. On his release, Hieu said he regretted what he did and hoped one day to get a cybersecurity job. He returned to Vietnam in August.

He has put up on his LinkedIn profile that he is a convicted former hacker and cybercriminal, but has said he would like to mentor young people and guide them on the right path and away from cybercrime, security news website KrebsOnSecurity reported.

"I hope my work can help change the minds of somebody, and if at least one person can change and turn to do good, I’ll be happy."

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