Cyber threats on the rise, Vaz urges vigilance
Minister Daryl Vaz

Technology Minister Daryl Vaz has disclosed that the threat of cyberattacks on ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the Government have been determined to be on the rise due to adjustments that were made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resultant work from home requirements.

"While some MDAs have pivoted as their needs dictated, others still have some work to do with respect to implementing security measures to protect their users and systems," Vaz said.

He was speaking on May 10 as he made his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

The minister urged MDAs and private sector partners to invest in the relevant security technologies to protect their data as well as invest in user education and training.

As it relates to education and training, Vaz stated that the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team (JaCIRT) which monitors and responds to cyber threats has embarked on public awareness initiatives to educate targeted groups on cyber-security related issues. He said these initiatives have led to the direct engagement of more than 80 entities over the course of the last financial year.

He told the House that the Early Warning System implemented with the assistance of the Organisation of American States has allowed JaCIRT the capability of seeing attacks in real time, monitoring the activities of attackers and responding to them accordingly.

"This facility provides invaluable insight into attacks, which are used to provide assistance in reducing the likelihood of recurrence and shortening response times.

"As it stands however, only a few organisations are party to the system. I am appealing yet again, for MDAs to do what is necessary to protect their information," Vaz urged.

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