THE government said it has embarked on the development of a national cyber security strategy that will further strengthen the country’s data protection capabilities by strengthening cyber crime legislation in the Bahamas.
Implementation of the strategy will result in the establishment of a National Computer Security Cyber Incident Response Team (CSIRT).
A National Cyber Security working group will be appointed to facilitate the development of the new strategy in consultation with groups of stakeholders.
The strategy is also expected to further strengthen the country’s ability to protect many of its key industries and services (private and public) such as the financial services sector, banking, medical field and tourism, among other key sectors, from criminal enterprises and criminal activity, according to the government.
Preventative and/or protective measures will be put in place to guard against activities that target computers and those criminal activities that are facilitated by computer networks or devices in order to target others.
These moves are all expected to counter a 63.33 per cent increase in cyber crimes in 2013 in the Bahamas when compared to the same period during 2012 when only 30 matters were reported.
“Every day, more and more people are becoming aware of the challenges wrought by living in a world increasingly dependent upon progressively sophisticated technologies,” National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage said.
“A lot of reliance has been placed on the global information network. A lot of our financial information has been put on it and so we have become at-risk to hackers and persons with malintent.
“While computers, the internet and other information and communications technologies add convenience to our lives and have boundless potential to do so in the future, they also make us more vulnerable to a wide range of new threats.”
Addressing the opening session of a two-day “Workshop for the Development of a National Cyber Strategy” at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre, Dr Nottage said virtually all critical sectors of society rely on information and communication networks for their “stable functioning”.
Dr Nottage said in order to achieve a maximum level of security these systems need to be “reliable, secure and trusted”.
“The advent of the internet, along with cross-network services, has impacted the way we communicate, socialise and do business,” Dr Nottage said.
“As private organisations and government entities move to take advantage of the opportunities it provides, they need to be aware of the negative effects this poses to their businesses and customers, including the economic costs associated with incidences of cyber crime.”
Dr Nottage said that according to a new joint study conducted by global market intelligence firm IDC and the National University of Singapore (NUS), enterprises worldwide are expected to spend nearly $500 billion in 2014 to deal with issues caused by Malware deliberately loaded onto pirated software; $127 billion dealing with security issues and $364 billion dealing with data breaches.
“Increasingly, electronic networks are being used for criminal purposes or for objectives that can harm the integrity of critical infrastructure and create barriers to extending the benefits of Information Communication Technologies,” Dr Nottage said.
“To address those threats and protect infrastructures each country needs a comprehensive action-plan that addresses technical, legal and policy issues combined with regional and international cooperation.”
The National Security Minister said the issue of cyber crime and how the Criminal Justice System deals with it are becoming more and more important given the “rise in the use” of the internet and the country’s “increasing reliance on systems which are vulnerable to new forms of attack”.