Cybersecurity: Latin America and the Caribbean's soft spot

Cybersecurity in Latam and the Caribbean cost an equivalent to $90 billion per year. Countries lack cybersecurity strategies, 2 out of 3 don't even have a command center and prosecutors lack legal capacity to pursue this kind of actions.

Latin America and the Caribbean are not ready to counteract acts of cybercrime says the latest IDB report.

According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the global cost of cybercrime is $575 billion. Latin America and the Caribbean pay an equivalent of $90 billion per year which if prevented could represent an increase in research funds.

The report done by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS) used a tool designed in partnership with the Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre (GCSCC) of the University of Oxford. 32 countries of the region where studied.

Policy and strategy, Culture and society, Education, Legal framework and Technologies where the 5 divisions in which the report concentrated its investigation, which counted with 49 indicators.

Some statistics show that four out of five LAC countries do not have cybersecurity strategies or critical infrastructure protection plans. Two out of three do not count on command centers and cybersecurity control and the vast majority of prosecutors lack the legal capacity to pursue cybercrime actions.

Contrary to this, LAC is the fourth biggest mobile market in the world, over half of the population is now online and the rate of growth of Internet users is among the highest in the world. Also cyberattacks and incidents with criminal intent are increasing not only in frequency but sophistication all over the world.

Conclusions and trends in the region:

"The Latin America and Caribbean regions are accelerating their focus on cybersecurity and moving it to the top of their policy and social agenda."

1. Governments recognize the importance of providing affordable access to information communication technologies, yet Internet  penetration is still low (less than 50% in around half of the region.

2. Adopting a national cybersecurity strategy is crucial to secure cyber infrastructure and show commitment. To date only six countries have adopted some measures (Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Panama, Trinindad and Tobago, and Uruguay)

3. Society is unaware of the risks associated with the use of ICT, although there are some initiatives like Information Security Begins with You campaign in Venezuela and international STOP.THINK.CONNECT campaign.

4. The establishment of public-private partnerships is mostly limited mostly because of mistrust among stakeholders.

5. Crisis response mechanisms are limited in the region, about half LAC countries have established Computer Security Incident Response Teams. Some countries like Colombia have more mature incident response initiatives that can provide response services for government and private sector entities.

6. Efforts to develop a comprehensive  legal frameworks to fight cybercrime is a major goal for the OAS cybersecurity strategy.

7. Some governments are taking advantage to explore technology development opportunities, expand their technology industry and develop new programs such as Start-up in Chile and Costa Rica's  Visión 2018.

"It is encouraging that cybersecurity and resiliency have moved to the top of the policy and social agendas in the LAC region. While no country is cyber ready, many countries are beginning to take significant steps to assert their specific cybersecurity challenges in economic terms and to commit limited resources to achieve their goals."

Ends the Reflections on the Region part written by Melissa Hathaway, Jennifer McArdle and Francesca Spidalieri three experts on the cybersecurity topic.

LatinAmerica Post |

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