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Jamaica lost US$100m to cybercrime in 2016 — Govt

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Trevor Forrest, is urging increased vigilance against cybercrime, as everyone is at risk.

He noted that last year, the country lost US$100 million due to cyber criminal activity, and a report for this year has indicated that more than 230,000 threats were detected in the space of a month.

“You cannot get rid of the threats that we are facing, but you can only put measures in place to mitigate,” he said.

“So individuals need to understand that this is not something that just Government must do. Everybody has a responsibility to protect themselves and their businesses from these kinds of attacks, as everyone is affected by this,” he added.

Forrest said people who use automated teller machines (ATMs), pay bills or shop online, use WhatsApp or Twitter on their phone are at risk and must be sensitised about good cyber practices.

He noted that the Government is doing its part to make people aware of the procedures to undertake in order to protect themselves.

He informed that in keeping with the National Cyber Security Strategy, the ministry will be looking at some technical measures to better secure and monitor national assets, including energy, telecommunications and the financial system.

“If you consider a day without electricity, think about the inconvenience, but also think about the cost,” he said, noting that “you can literally cripple economies when you shut down their financial systems”.

Meanwhile, FLOW's Director of Networking and Security, Delroy McLean, who also addressed the session, said that monitoring of the company's markets since 2015 has shown that Jamaica is the most impacted country in the Caribbean in terms of cybercrime.

“In most cases [Jamaica is] exposed to 10 times more threats than any other Caribbean country,” he noted.

He pointed out that many people, in using cyberspace, do not think about security, only about the convenience.

McLean said the company continues to put protective measures in place, including recruiting and training young talent to assist in mitigating threats.

He noted, however, that while “our core security protects the majority of our consumer networks at the first layer, the ultimate protection is up to the individual”.

October is being observed as Cyber Security Awareness Month internationally.

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