Jamaica joins int’l community to focus on tackling cybercrimes

Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) — Jamaica has joined with the international community for the observance of October as Cyber-security Awareness Month.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell said the designation of a month for national focus on combating the pervasive and growing incidents of cyber-security breaches and acts of criminality is a relatively new, but critical development.

“Given the importance of the Internet in communication and commercial transactions, all sectors must be practicably engaged in the search for solutions if we are to secure ourselves from the pernicious and pervasive threats of cyber criminality,” the minister emphasised.

Paulwell was speaking at a ceremony to hand over a computer centre to the Mobile Reserve of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) on October 7th.

A National Cyber-security Strategy was launched in January this year, and subsequently a Cyber Incident Response Team was established to better manage Jamaica’s cyber landscape.

The minister said cybercrime and cyber incidents have been on the increase, reporting that in 2011, there were 19 reported cases of cybercrime and 1,400 cyber incidents. Meanwhile in 2012, there were 43 cases of cybercrime and 2,400 cyber incidents.

“Today, we don’t have the exact figure, but we know by report that those figures have increased tremendously,” he said.

He explained that with the launch of the National Cyber-security Strategy, the Government has strengthened its resolve to protect the country’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. The strategy is guided by six principles, which are: leadership, shared responsibility, protection of fundamental rights and freedom, risk management, innovation and business development, and sustainable resources.

“These principles seek to ensure that the Government provides leadership and creates an enabling environment towards cyber-security, while balancing the needs of citizens and the business community,” the minister said.

Paulwell said the strategy seeks to ensure that network infrastructure and in particular, critical systems are resilient to cyber threats, while targeting campaigns are undertaken to facilitate an understanding of potential threats and risks and the actions that all stakeholders can take to protect themselves.

“The Cyber Incident Response Team was established to ensure that risk assessments are undertaken and the necessary preventative measures and best practices and standards are applied and promoted in both the public and private sectors,” the minister pointed out.

In addition to the strategy, the ministry is also implementing a ‘Stop, Think, Connect’ campaign to engage the public on the issue.

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