Effectively responding to cyber threats and enhancing cyber security requires cooperation from across all sectors; in a prime example of such a partnership, I am pleased to say that the Organization of American States (OAS) recently partnered with Symantec to develop the report, “Latin American and Caribbean Cyber Security.”
With additional contributions from Microsoft, the American Police Community (AMERIPOL), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), as well as civil society and other private sector partners – the report truly reflects a multi-stakeholder effort and comprehensive analysis of the region’s current cyber security and landscape in terms of the threats to the cyber domain and those who depend on it.
The report identified five major trends impacting the region:
1. Data breaches are on the rise: Dubbed “The Year of the Mega Breach,” over 552 million identities were exposed by data breaches in 2013, putting at risk consumer credit card, financial, medical, and other types of personal information. The source of this trend was led by cyber-crime-driven breaches and acts of hacktivism, with hackers accounting for 32 percent of all breaches in 2013.
2. Targeted attacks continue to grow: Attacks against specific individuals or organizations are evolving, with cyber-criminals adapting spear-phishing campaigns to be stealthier and adding watering-hole attacks to their tool-kits.
3. Social media scams are on the rise: In 2013, cyber-criminals sought to exploit the data we share online through social media, and as these sites become increasingly interconnected the security of our data and personal information online becomes more important than ever.
4. Banking Trojans and heists: Across Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of incidents involving banking Trojans has increased significantly. Initially discovered in Mexico, malware targeting ATMs has spread to other countries throughout the Americas, especially in Spanish speaking countries.
5. Major events provide rich targets: The upcoming World Cup in Brazil has already become a major vector for cyber-criminals who have engaged in countless malware operations, phishing schemes, and email scams related to the tournament. Global events such as concerts and sporting events tend to be attractive for cyber-criminals, and the 2014 World Cup will be no exception.
The report concluded that the trajectory of cyber security and cyber-crime related efforts by governments in the region had been positive in 2013. Specifically, it noted improvements in information sharing and cooperation at the technical level which in turn allowed for more effective and efficient responses to cyber threats; advancements in developing policy and legal frameworks, as well as building technical capacities; tangible results from investments made in training and capacity-building; and increased efforts to strengthen awareness raising activities in 2013, among other achievements.
Nevertheless, the report stated that “much more remains to be done” and emphasized that governments cannot do the job alone. Instead the report proposed, “government authorities and key private sector stakeholders must do more to dialogue and share info, build trust, and identify and realize opportunities for collaboration”. Indeed, in today’s increasingly connected, dynamic, and technology-dependent world cyber threats have the potential to infiltrate and adversely impact members across civil society, private sector, and government alike. This is particularly true for Latin America and the Caribbean where the internet population has expanded by 12 percent (representing 147 million unique users), over the past year making it the region with the fastest growing population in the world.
As such, the Organization of American States will continue to support Member States in their efforts to address cyber security issues in the region, raise awareness, and strengthen capacities for a resilient and secure cyberspace in partnership with individual from across a variety of sectors, industries, and regions.
To read the report please click on the following link: http://ow.ly/xQ6yU
The report is also available in Spanish: http://ow.ly/xQcNX