Cyber Threats: What you Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Submitted by Caribbean Cyber Security Center

caribbean_cyber_Security_CentreWashington D.C/Bridgetown Barbados, March 23, 2013: The penetration of internet access in the Caribbean region has undoubtedly paved the way for greater access to the information super highway and the benefits of competing on the global stage.  However, with this access comes great responsibility and risk and we will soon learn that ignorance is no excuse and what we don’t know can hurt us.

Pretending that the Caribbean is immune from the impact of cyber threats and cyber crime should be quickly eroded from our minds when we see recently that banks in the region are reissuing credit cards because of a data breach.    For the six months spanning the last quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 we have seen rapid growth in the reported attacks in the Caribbean and its beginning to get a little closer to our pockets.  The internet is like the wild-west, any and every type of company is being hacked these days and regional businesses will not be spared.

Did you know that Cybercrime has become the primary motivation behind cyber-attacks in the Caribbean? Did you know that a cyber-attack resulting in two days of downtime and data breach could cost a company more than US$50,000 in losses? Of course we all you know that the islands’ economies are heavily dependent on tourism and by extension the inability to do business will have grave impacts on our fragile economies.

As parents and guardians have we stopped and considered what our kids are doing on the social media sites.  Do we know that fraudsters and paedophiles target social media sites to exploit our children? Did you know revealing information on where we live, where mum and dad work and when we travel can all be used by criminals against us and our children?  Do you know that the guy your son or daughter met on the net who obtained your credit card information is not who he says he is?  Simply posting that we are on vacation in Miami with the whole family on our social media profile tells everyone that our home may be unattended.
As business leaders do we know that insurance companies and auditors will soon demand proof that you have done all that is necessary to protect your company’s data assets so that cyber related claims can be settled.  Do we know that our local IT staff faces the same threats as the IT staff for the CIA or a fortune 500 company that trades on NYSE?  Did you just buy a $30,000 firewall or some device on the advice of the vendor that you will be safe?  Well guess again devices alone can’t keep us safe.

The protection of Caribbean Information and Communication Infrastructures is one of the most serious economic and security challenges facing our region.  The Caribbean Cyber Security Center was established in response to improve awareness of the threats and to assist in making the right investments in people, policies, processes and technology to protect our region and its people from the harms of Cybercrime.  If we continue to pretend that we will never become a victim because the Caribbean is too small we will soon come face to face with the cliché “what we don’t know can hurt us’ after we have been compromised and have suffered a great loss.

Email Contact: Deon Olton

58 thoughts on “Cyber Threats: What you Don’t Know Can Hurt You

  1. Will use this blog to repeat a concern. It was reported on Friday by the Speaker of parliament that the government of China donated laptops to all members of parliament in Barbados. China is a country accused of hacking computer systems of developed countries. What are the implications here?

    • Isn’t there usually a state policy which regulates the acceptance of gifts by public officials?

  2. Haven’t our government no shame? Can’t they afford their own laptops? Schools have laptops, you mean to tell me our parliamentarians don’t own laptops??? This looks sooo poor rakey and shameless. They better send those laptops back to China if they know what is good for them. If they accept those pissy gifts means that they have sunk lower than a snake on the ground.

  3. With OSA having access to a laptop during sittings of Parliament is indeed a blessing in disguise. OSA could now spend more time in the House and continue to blog on BU rather than spend all his time away from the House consuming Mount of Eclipse a.k.a (Mount Gay) with his bosom buddy Miller.

  4. islandgal & david you ill informed jackasses. The biggest hacker and spy is the elephant in the north, Not so long ago canada had bought some desktop computers for its security only to find that it was embedded with code to return any information to the manufacturers. Ignorance is bliss and deadly. Do you know about Stuxtnet and flame. Well if not check it out. Do you remember the saying “god protect me from my friends, for my enemies I know.

    • @ginga coco

      Are you not therefore making the point for us that our MPs should minimize risks by NOT accepting gives of laptops and giving more weight to the seriousness attached to inherent ICT vulerabilites?

    • We pride ourselves on aspiring to be first world. Here is what the US Ethics policy on public officials receiving gives states.

      Executive branch employees are subject to restrictions on the gifts that they may accept from sources outside the Government. Unless an exception applies, executive branch employees may not accept gifts that are given because of their official positions or that come from certain interested sources (“prohibited sources”).

      Do we have a similar policy?

  5. ginga coco

    I likes you bad bad bad …. Could use some help ’bout hey… DO come again … Islandgirl and David are tough cookies don’ mind, they can tek and share wid de best of them … Ginga, I wid you … HA HA HA.

  6. Yet the government talk about vote buying and can be seen publicly accepting gifts from a foreign country! Ethics what, dem doan know the meaning of that word!

  7. For years experts have warned of a global epidemic of hacking. But now those dire predictions have come true. It is clear that the world’s emerging superpower, China, is now engaged in a battle with an older superpower, the United States. It is a fight raging across the internet in a proxy for the old spy versus spy games of the Cold War: except that it drops honey traps and prisoner exchanges at Checkpoint Charlie in favour of the planting of malware, beating firewalls and hijacking servers

  8. Islandgirl

    Me be dawg and you be sexy sexy dawgess .. no?


    There always been one Supa powa.. You, not be fooled USSR never was Supa Powa, China not Supa Powa … You must study GDP figure for different country over the last century … USSR and now China be rich country, but never Supa Powa …no? Propaganda to feed American population that US have match-up rival … but not true …no? US print own money when US need money … trillion per year … this is Supa Powa …

  9. Even though Beijing lurks behind the Great Firewall of China and strictly regulates its internet, the country in 2011 suffered some 500,000 cyber-attacks – with around 15% of them from the US.

    The most dramatic act of cyber-espionage is believed to have been a joint project by the US and Israel in which the Stuxnet computer virus was used against Iran. One report claimed that the code damaged up to 1,000 centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz enrichment plant, which many suspect is key to developing nuclear weapons.

  10. Cyber-espionage, Cyber-crime and Cyber-warfare are all real threats.

    The Windows OS has back doors that allow governments to access any PC or server running it. This has led China and India to obtain the source code so they can verify and control what is distributed in their countries.

    Iran is developing it’s own more secure operating system following the STUXNET attack.

    China, Russia and Israel are ahead of the game.

    Starting from zero it yet remains to be seen if this unit is staffed by people with the required knowledge to keep up with the existing threats and those ones yet to emerge from the professioanls who have been at this “game” for decades.
    It’s a tall ask.

    I also wonder if the announcement citing Washington DC means that the US has control such that they can do whatever damage they see fit at any given time to exercise their displeasure at any action – I am thinking of things like their legal spat with Antigua over gambling.

  11. Cyber war one thing … Antigua obvious target for US Now what if Hugo Chavez not be natural death … What if Chavez be new regime change tactic … no? Now whole world, whole world in velly velly big shit.

  12. Giving Bajan politicians free laptops……………….better way to track them, being fully aware that the local leaders are solely focused on deceiving the Bajan populace, this leaves China free to move in and take over the economy. They have probably already done this, who knows. I am sure the local leaders will be the last to figure it out and I am equally sure that there is absolutely nothing they can do about it, too slow.

  13. The author of this article needs to come again and indicate how the caribbean can protect itself from cyber attacks. The point that needs to be made is that we in the caribbean are sitting ducks when it comes to things technological. We create nothing and we therefore can engineer nothing.

    I am not surprised for too long Barbados has had too many hand to mouth politicians.

  14. Well Well

    You put much faith in Chinese spyware … ha ha ha. China friend to Barbados … Barbados make employment for many Chinese labour .. China grateful to Caribbean and Africa. You have suspect of China but many more dangerous neighbor in US and Canada and you have no suspect of the Government … Maybe if Chinese people were White you would not have suspect … no?

  15. Bajan politicians can’t even expose or lock each other up for corruption, think they are any match for the Chinese…………HA!!

  16. And it’s interesting that Barbados can make employment for Chinese laborers, some of whom are prisoners, but Barbados government is unable to create jobs and opportunities for their own people who number far less than the Chinese population………… i missing something here?

  17. What you are missing is that those with deep pockets ie. aid and grants gets to apply conditions to those who have to receive said funding.

  18. Well Well

    You claim Bajan know Canadian devil … You claim Bajan know American devil … HA HA HA … Laf out lauw … Comrade Hants don’ know Canadian devil; comrade Pat don’ know Canadian devil. 99.99 per cent of American people don’ know American devil … but Well Well know these devil.

    Well Well you come and work for Chinese Embassy …no? You have much valuable information, no one else have ..

  19. Very true, but being someone who has seen many of those legal traps set in documents providing aids and grants, I also know that there is always a way around these mostly self-serving documents, you just need the flexibility to figure out how to be just as exploitive while complying. The lawyers in Bim do it every day to the unaware populace, why can’t they implement that same savvy to these aid granters, oh I forgot, they take bribes not to.

  20. Baf, you are a riot……………….however, I think we have had more hands on affairs with North America than with China……… gotta admire them for actually providing the world with some of what it needs and most of what it think it wants and have become very wealthy from that strategy. The governments who in the 90’s figured it would be cheaper to outsource rather than manufacture are now the ones having to beg China for money to survive. Strategy BAF, strategy.

  21. Ha ha Well Well … riot not allowed in China. You must not say such thing. Intelligent agent monitor web site. Maybe you not hear from me again … no? America NOT have problem. America never have problem. If America have problem and have to beg for suppa why America spend so much on secret weapon … huh? America print all money that America need.. that is not strategy … that is scam … no?

  22. Since China is in the political gift horse game of providing laptops to those who can most afford such digital toys why not get them to supply on concessionary terms tablets to the primary school students?
    In return we can give them a share of the $ 120 million in the Four Seasons project.
    China is awash in US$ reserves and can easily take over that project and complete it within 3 years; with pagodas and all. Instead of Four Seasons it can be called the Dragon’s Hideaway.

  23. Spaceman make laugh at China … no? Spaceman admit that Four Season big White scam in first place and now scam expose, spaceman want Red to buy White elephant because Red in Black… Spaceman be funny … no?

  24. Bajan Government open new bank. Bank attract Credit union deposit. Bajan Government keep bank for two year and sell bank to Trinidad people for US dollar. Bajan government use US dollar to finish white elephant.

  25. @ BAFBFP
    when do you propose to credit the Bushman with that idea of developing and selling Banks to anyone with more dollars than sense?
    …you soon hear from Amused acting on Bushie’s behalf…

  26. @islandgirl246

    Haven’t our government no shame? Can’t they afford their own laptops?

    Why YES they can afford them, taxpayers money — the question is DO THEY KNOW HOW TO USE/OPERATE THEM, my guess is NO,NO,NO,NO.

    All the political dinosaurs are still mired in the 10th century and primarily focused on GUM FLAPPING issues.

  27. Willy…you are sooo correct!!! To be seen accepting laptops from the Chinese is shameful ! Dem want to play dem computer literate and I bet allotta dem fraid dem computers real bad. Can wunna imagine Stuart trying to do a speadsheet? Or Owen doing a power point presentation? Or Stinkliar preparing a diet sheet?

  28. @BAFBFP | March 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Good one!!!! Very good.

    Although, in the later comments, I have to ask why you would think that I would become the mouthpiece for Bushy. Bushy very good at speaking for heself.

    And why I am likened to a “steel donkey” (and I am surprised that someone as young and as Chineee as you would even have heard of the steel donkey) when it was you who erroneously claimed a while ago that I had pardoned your ass?

  29. I believe many will occupy their time playing ‘Patience’.Hopefully,the member for sen lucy will not jump up as often on a pint ‘o awduh suh.Time wasters all!
    Buhbaydus gone to de dawgs.NIS en got nuh money..all len’out to dis DLP guvment.

  30. the title is very interesting ‘…What you Don’t Know Can Hurt You’

    The last eruption of Kick ’em Jenny occurred in December 2001… The volcano is currently at Alert Level YELLOW

    i am amazed that no one has questioned or seek to esquire why there are ads on CBC on what to do if there is a tsunami?

    when Kick ’em Jenny erupted in 2001, she spewed some of her guts onto Paynes Bay, St. James…the residents of that area had not idea of that and assumed that the waters was a bit high of something but NO ONE paid attention…the government at that time decided to close the old’s people’s home in Oistins, christ church so as to safeguard those residence in the event of a tsunami the residents were moved to St. Lucy District hospital. the govt has NEVER informed that Barbados public that Kick ’em Jenny most likely will erupt again between 2015-2020 when the top reaches sea level… in fact as far as i am aware, we were told sometime ago that it will not affect Barbados yet in 2001 it did . so we are moving along blissfully unaware that there is a very present danger and the govt could not give a rat’s bottom if the public knows. what it has done is educate on tsunamis so that it could always say that the public has been informed.

    all this i am sure has been documented at CERO or dept of emergency management as it is now called

  31. 2nd para should read ‘i am amazed that no one has questioned or seek to INQUIRE why there are ads on CBC on what to do if there is a tsunami?

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