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Region urged to address cyber-security and information security issues


Posted in: Regional News | 03 June 2016 | 3148

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    PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun. 2, CMC – Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie says the region needs to address issues related to cyber-security and information security to build confidence in investors and citizens.

    In an address at the opening of a regional conference – “Exploring Innovation in Transactions and Financing the Caribbean” on Wednesday, Cuffie said as the internet and technological advances continue to reshape the way business is done the reality of increased economic crime continues to have a serious impact on the economy .

    He told regional representatives that bearing this in mind cyber-security legislation and the proclamation of the Electronic Transactions Act and the Data Protection Act are back on the agenda as key deliverables of his Ministry.

    CUFFE... greater attention will have to be paid to the potential of cyber-crime on the financial systems

    “These two bits of legislation were designed to both modernise Government’s ability to accept electronic payments and protect those persons who provided their data to financial and other institutions.I give the financial community the assurance that this present administration will do what is necessary, what is opportune and what is left to be done to ensure that the IFC fulfils the mandate for which it was intended, and that Trinidad and Tobago assumes its place as the financial hub of the region.” Cuffie added that the hallmarks of any decent financial services sector are security and confidentiality.

    “There is no doubt therefore, that increasingly, greater attention will have to be paid to the potential of cyber-crime on the financial systems.”

    In making reference to the “ Panama-Papers” he said persons will do anything to “hide behind their manipulation of the financial sector, using shell companies and a myriad number of electronic transactions to cover their tracks.”

    He added that as cyberattacks continue to escalate, forward-thinking financial services sectors must begin to leverage and link innovative cybersecurity tools, with the suggestion that these be cloud-enabled. “Increasing numbers of organisations are now improving their security programmes with technologies such as cloud-based cybersecurity services, Big Data analytics, and advanced authentication and biometrics.”

    “The question for us in the Caribbean is simply this: are we truly equipped to deal with the modern versions of cyber-crime? Moreover, how can we, using the ITU and ECLAC position ourselves in such a way that any such threat to the financial services sector in the region can be met with the requisite level of resistance?”

    The Communications Minister said that another area that must be addressed is that of having effective policy, regulations and legislation in place.

    “Once there is an understanding and acceptance of the exponential increase in the number of electronic transactions occurring daily, and the speed with which cash is being rendered obsolete by many institutions, then the need for increased protection from cybercrime becomes a fait accompli.”

    He also stated that there is need to develop the human capacity to provide skilled labour to the emerging ICT and financial sectors.

    “I humbly suggest that an effective human capital management agenda would require close collaboration amongst the Private Sector, Academia and Government.”

    He noted that coalitions of private and public groups need to work together to combat economic and cybercrime and the conference provides an excellent demonstration of this potential.

    According to Cuffie, the conference that continues on “must serve to deepen the debate and throw light on the mysteries often associated with financial dealings, cybercrime and cyber security. It is equally about building collaboration between our Financial and ICT Sectors in a way that facilitates the emergence of a suitable enabling environment for the promotion of Financial Technology and the emergence of Digital Financial Services.”

    He pointed to the need for a significant education and advocacy campaign, “which would bring together both public and private actors into the one space. I would strongly suggest that this campaign include a generous mixture of both well-established firms who will bring their financial brawn to the table, as well as a host of younger, smaller tech-oriented firms which have emerged within the last few years.”

    He said the combination could prove to be quite effective in bridging the digital divide that exists in the financial arena.

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