Government putting fight to cyber criminalsThursday, December 31, 2020
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
GRANGE HILL, Westmoreland — Project portfolio manager in the Ministry of National Security, Thaddeti Tulloch, says the ministry will, as of next month, start to roll out a programme on cybersecurity as part of efforts to further protect citizens from the evolving threat of cybercrime.
“We're going to see the roll-out of an extensive holistic architecture to support cybersecurity, both the infrastructure in terms of equipment and also an academy to support the unfolding industry, so to speak,” said Tulloch.
He added that the strategy that was developed by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology in 2015 is currently being updated and implemented.
“All of that is working in parallel, and we'll see the acceleration of that starting this January in terms of the executing of it,” he said.
“...So, now the equipment is there and we are rationalising, but ultimately, the implementation in terms of installation and commissioning and testing and all of that will be happening as of January 4.”
Tulloch said the academy will facilitate the training and development of awareness and the talents needed in Jamaica to address cybersecurity, as a whole.
“The training will initially be at the Caribbean Military Academy, however, there is of course partnership with the Ministry of Education to ensure that from the primary, secondary and tertiary level, you would be able to choose a career or training that is in line with cybersecurity,” he argued.
“Cyber represents the edge of addressing security concerns, the emerging and the immediate relevant ones. So, we have already put the necessary investment in place to address this for Jamaica, and we expect that by the end of next year we should have one of the most advanced cybersecurity systems in the entire region and also able to supply services to regional countries,” he said.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a number of institutions, employees and students working remotely. Besides, with emphasis being placed on social distancing, a number of individuals and organisations have turned to social media and other online platforms to communicate and do business.
The country recorded its first case of the coronavirus on March 10, and since then, the police say they have seen an increase in cybercrimes.
Senior communication strategist for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Dennis Brooks, told the Jamaica Observer last week that with the pandemic and individuals pivoting to find new ways of doing things, so are the criminals.
“We do see an increase in behaviours such as online phishing, skimming point of sale machines and card skimmers. We have seen the increased proliferation of that, not that it wasn't existing before, but we just see so many more people becoming savvy with it,” said Brooks.
He further stressed that as individuals are encouraged to do more online monetary transactions, the police have seen “people being subjected to persons trying to attack them online”.
“We have been warning persons since early this year that as you spend more time in the digital space, you have to appreciate that criminals will also be spending more time in the digital space,” stated Brooks, as he urged individuals to “be careful what you click on, and what website you visit”.
“Also, they should be careful of how they hand over information to others and also to be careful of free non-government Wi-Fi networks,” he added.
Brooks pointed out that common activities that the police have also seen in recent months are ransomware and blackmailing.
“We see people reporting to us, via social media, calling us and reporting to police stations, saying that people have been e-mailing them to say that they got access to their e-mail or to say that they have nude images that they hacked into your laptop, your phone or whatever and they are going to leak your nude images if you do not pay over X, Y, Z amount of money. That is a very common one that we see nowadays,” stated the JCF senior communication strategist.
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