Submitted by Caribbean Cyber Security Center
Washington D.C/Bridgetown Barbados, March 23, 2013: The penetration of internet access in the Caribbean region has undoubtedly paved the way for greater access to the information super highway and the benefits of competing on the global stage. However, with this access comes great responsibility and risk and we will soon learn that ignorance is no excuse and what we don’t know can hurt us.
Pretending that the Caribbean is immune from the impact of cyber threats and cyber crime should be quickly eroded from our minds when we see recently that banks in the region are reissuing credit cards because of a data breach. For the six months spanning the last quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 we have seen rapid growth in the reported attacks in the Caribbean and its beginning to get a little closer to our pockets. The internet is like the wild-west, any and every type of company is being hacked these days and regional businesses will not be spared.
Did you know that Cybercrime has become the primary motivation behind cyber-attacks in the Caribbean? Did you know that a cyber-attack resulting in two days of downtime and data breach could cost a company more than US$50,000 in losses? Of course we all you know that the islands’ economies are heavily dependent on tourism and by extension the inability to do business will have grave impacts on our fragile economies.
As parents and guardians have we stopped and considered what our kids are doing on the social media sites. Do we know that fraudsters and paedophiles target social media sites to exploit our children? Did you know revealing information on where we live, where mum and dad work and when we travel can all be used by criminals against us and our children? Do you know that the guy your son or daughter met on the net who obtained your credit card information is not who he says he is? Simply posting that we are on vacation in Miami with the whole family on our social media profile tells everyone that our home may be unattended.
As business leaders do we know that insurance companies and auditors will soon demand proof that you have done all that is necessary to protect your company’s data assets so that cyber related claims can be settled. Do we know that our local IT staff faces the same threats as the IT staff for the CIA or a fortune 500 company that trades on NYSE? Did you just buy a $30,000 firewall or some device on the advice of the vendor that you will be safe? Well guess again devices alone can’t keep us safe.
The protection of Caribbean Information and Communication Infrastructures is one of the most serious economic and security challenges facing our region. The Caribbean Cyber Security Center was established in response to improve awareness of the threats and to assist in making the right investments in people, policies, processes and technology to protect our region and its people from the harms of Cybercrime. If we continue to pretend that we will never become a victim because the Caribbean is too small we will soon come face to face with the cliché “what we don’t know can hurt us’ after we have been compromised and have suffered a great loss.