OAS hails Jamaica's cyber security efforts

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 29, 2015

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ASSISTANT secretary general of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, says that Jamaica has made a sound choice of a model for its National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS).


Speaking at the official launch of the strategy at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesdayy, Ramdin congratulated the government on drafting and approving its NCSS in just under a year, and appointing a "dedicated multi-stakeholder", the National Cyber Security Task Force, to develop the strategy.


He said that the group, working with the OAS and other experts from partner institutions, has committed significant effort and time to develop a strategy that has met and followed international best practices and recommendations.


"I am sure that your experiences and approach will be valuable learning lessons for other Caribbean countries to take into consideration in drafting their own security strategies," he said.


Ramdin also congratulated the Government for joining the "Stop. Think. Connect" cyber security messaging campaign.


Jamaica has joined countries such as Canada, Dominica, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay, that have agreed to help digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.


The launch of the strategy, jointly sponsored by the government and the OAS, comes quickly on the heels of the announcement that Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), Julian Robinson, has received the preliminary Cyber Incident Response Report from a team of cyber-security and forensics experts. The team was constituted in December 2014, in response to the hacking of a number of Government websites.


The team comprised experts from the OAS, the government of Uruguay and technical officers from several local ministries and agencies. A thorough investigation identified the points and methods of attack, the ministry said.


According to Ramdin, cyber security is a new area of priority, which the public, policymakers and parliamentarians do not pay too much attention to.


"They don't see the immediate need to pay attention to it. But it is becoming one of the most severe security challenges for the future," he told the Jamaica Observer in an interview preceding the launch.


"The whole issue about cyber security is connected to our capabilities, as countries connecting with the global Internet," Ramdin explained.


"Once you do that, you open yourself up to any kind of attack, infringement and possibilities of theft, of fraud, of abuse, whether with the schools, the banks or politically sensitive agencies, and it can happen at any point in time, from anywhere in the world, and it is very difficult to track," he said.


"So, we have to see this whole cyber security issue as a new security challenge, but a serious one and one that needs to be addressed, because it is an area that is not regulated as yet," he concluded.



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