– budgeting for cyber defences is more critical than ever
The growing threat from cyber criminals and hackers should be taken very seriously, according to the Caribbean Cyber Security Center (CCSC)
It was noted that the private sectors namely ICT and telecommunications organizations need to play a more socially responsible role in helping the region educate the masses on the cyber threat as combating cyber-crime is a multi-stakeholder issue and not just a problem for government to solve.
Additionally, both the public and private sectors need to proactively start budgeting for cyber defences in the operating of their information systems and view such investments as a cost saving customer protection measure, and not just the IT guys wanting new toys to play with. Just as a budget for guards and security systems, budgeting for cyber defences is more critical than ever.
It is clear that the Caribbean is becoming more and more dependent on technology and the internet in many aspects of daily lives, just as the cyber threat gets more dangerous and damaging.
The cost of recovery from a cyber-incident has been proven to be significantly higher than being proactive and getting your network or home computer tested for system weaknesses and vulnerabilities that need to be remedied.
The CCSC noted that the reality is that cybercriminals and hackers are always communicating and looking to exploit system weaknesses and vulnerabilities in order to steal money, intellectual property, and identities and they have targeted the Caribbean.
The security centre estimates that on a frequent basis Caribbean businesses, organizations, governments and homes are targeted and scanned for information system weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can be exploited, yet very little has been done comprehensively to combat this growing national security, public safety and economic development threat.
“In the last 12 months we have seen reports from all across the region of network breaches, website defacements, ATM scams, denial of service attacks, and credit card fraud incidents.
According to recent reports from leading global security organizations, in 2013 the region saw significant increases in data breaches, banking trojans, mobile malware and other online threats.” CCSC underscored.
In recent months CCSC has responded to successful and unsuccessful attempts by cyber criminals and hackers to steal thousands in revenue from businesses and individuals. “We believe that as a region we could be losing millions of dollars via unsecure and unprotected work and home computers which are compromised right now without the system owners or home user even knowing it.”
Ironically, each day the CCSC noted that the telecommunications industry as supported by many governments seeks to expand internet access to all corners of the region, which in essence is providing cyber-criminals and hackers with more and more potential cyber victims.
At present, the public and private sectors are failing to take proactive measures to budget for and implement effective cyber protections to protect their data assets which are often the personal and financial information of their clients and customers; many home computer operating systems are outdated and have no effective antivirus, spyware or malware protection software installed; and many families do not know the do’s and don’ts of the internet and how to protect themselves from the millions of online cyber predators that exist today.
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