By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
TOURISM Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar is calling for computer security at the Ministry of Tourism to be beefed up following the discovery of a virus on a ministry server on Tuesday.
Mr D’Aguilar confirmed the existence of the virus to reporters yesterday, saying the agency’s information technology (IT) department is “working assiduously” to correct the matter.
He also stressed the importance of government agencies not becoming “complacent” regarding cyber security.
When asked to respond to rumours that there was a hacking at his ministry, Mr D’Aguilar said a virus was found.
“Yesterday we found a virus on our server that began to corrupt some files,” he said. “The servers were shut down immediately and we think that we can repair the damage that’s been done, but we’re still assessing. I certainly use the server for my email and I haven’t had a problem.
“But I’m sure, I’ve heard that some persons in the Ministry of Tourism had files that got corrupted and they couldn’t - but I think we identified and caught it early enough that the situation can be resolved.”
Regarding whether he’s calling for security to be beefed up, Mr D’Aguilar said: “Oh, absolutely. You just have to make sure that all your subscriptions are paid up and that all of your software and necessary security protocols are working as they should be.”
He also said he does not believe any sensitive information was breached.
When asked if an investigation is underway, Mr D’Aguilar replied: “Well the IT department at the Ministry of Tourism (is) working assiduously to correct it. I haven’t heard of any traumatic loss of data or any large corrupted files or large amount of files that were corrupted. So we’ll wait and see. I haven’t gotten the full report yet.”
He also asked if an investigation is being conducted to determine where the virus came from.
To this, he replied: “How the virus got there? Yes I’m sure…But you know, the question is not how it got there, it’s what we could have put in place to prevent it from getting there.
“There will always be viruses trying to get on your computers, on your cellphones, everything, so you just have to make sure that you have the necessary protocols in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen.
“And keep that software up to date and relevant and not just get complacent. Think that you bought an anti-virus software ten years ago, it’s still going to work today, is unrealistic.”
Mr D’Aguilar also said the matter is being dealt with in-house, adding the ministry has “sufficient expertise” to do so and a “very robust IT department”.