October is Global Cyber Security Awareness Month and it remains critically important to engage all Barbados public and private sector stakeholders – especially the general public – to becoming more aware of the many internet risks, threats and vulnerabilities facing us daily at home, school and work. Based on regional cyber security incidents within the last 18 months “EVERYONE” in Barbados has a role to play in promoting effective cyber security as cyber criminals and predators have targeted Barbados and the overall Caribbean region. Constantly evolving cyber threats also require the engagement of all Barbadians in following international cyber security best practices and standards — from government and law enforcement to the private sector and most importantly, the public.
Cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our daily lives and the world is more interconnected today than ever before. We enjoy the benefits and convenience that cyberspace provides as we shop from home online, bank using our smart phones, and interact with friends from around the Caribbean and world. However while the benefits of the internet outweigh the negatives, the negatives from cybercrime and online sex predators must be addressed. To address the internet negatives the Caribbean Cyber Security Center is committed to raising cyber security awareness in Barbados and to working across all levels of government, the private sector, and internationally to protect against network compromises, and child internet exploitation.
If you use a Smart TV, a Dreambox, an Android Phone or tablet, a fridge, own a new car or simply using the entertainment system on a flight they are using Linux. The Raspberry Pi and almost all embedded systems run Linux. The majority of the internet backbone runs on Linux, so it’s not just a niche operating system. It’s also where the highest paying computer jobs are on offer.
One of the real benefits is the educational value. Besides being free as in both freedom and free beer, it’s of benefit to anyone wanting to learn the internals of the system unlike Windows where get only what Microsoft damn well gives you with no say in how it’s put together. Besides the big companies like IBM, HP, Intel, Dell etc. anyone is free to contribute to Linux development by way of enhancements, submitting improvements etc. There are programmers all over the world who are contributing to the operating system core – the Linux kernel – and all the applications that run on it.
Time is Up!! The opportunity Caribbean nations have had to get their cyber security houses in order, in both the public and private sectors is quickly coming to an ended. In recent weeks we have seen a spike in Cyber-attacks against both Caribbean private and public information infrastructures and websites. To assist Caribbean nations in this critical need we have assembled a team of Caribbean and U.S cyber security consultants under a new organization called the Caribbean Cyber Security Center.
The protection of Caribbean Public and Private Information and Communication Infrastructures is one of the most serious economic and security challenges facing our region. Our ability as nations to effectively ensure the Confidentiality, Availability and Integrity (CIA) of critical information infrastructures and ICT technology assets and information has significant economic and security implications for all of us. Key Caribbean Cyber Security Causes for Concern today are:
Many challenges we face in Barbados can be addressed by an effective combination of the RIGHT, PEOPLE, PROCESSES AND TECHNOLOGY.
Barbados has developed a superior talent for turning common sense things into white papers and reports which contain little or no meaningful actions, plans, timelines or specifics to the subject at hand from a business “execution” perspective. The recently released Ministry of Tourism White Paper is unfortunately a 260+ page perfect example of this. While as a white paper it would surely get an “A+” from the halls of academia and highly paid consultants, from a real world business “execution and planning” perspective it would receive at the most a C- in my opinion.
From an ICT perspective there is a global understanding that problems and challenges are solved most effectively by combining the “right” PEOPLE, PROCESSES AND TECHNOLOGY, as such:
Submitted by James Bynoe – Senior Cyber Security Consultant
Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance revealed this week in the House of Assembly that the computer system at the VAT Office was hacked
The recently reported hacking of the Barbados VAT system should serve as yet another trigger for the Barbados government to ensure that our national cyber security house is in order. As a senior cyber security consultant who has lead ICT vulnerability assessment for large and small public and private sector organizations worldwide I can tell you that the effective protection of Barbados’s public and private key network infrastructures is a challenge that must be confronted proactively and “not” reactively. The successful hacking of a major financial institution in Barbados if publicized globally could have a devastating economic impact on the Barbados economy, stemming from potential massive lost in investor confidence in our ability to protect information and financial assets.
Unknown to most many hacking events are broadcasted worldwide via numerous hacker communities, the hacking of the Barbados VAT system could place “Barbados” on the “hit list” of thousands of criminal hacking enterprises worldwide, it is therefore imperative that government proactively establish a national cyber security strategy which address and provides guidance on a wide range of cyber security risk areas for both the public and private ICT sectors.
It has been proven by many global ICT research organizations that it is always significantly more costly for organizations and governments to recovery from hacking events then it does to implement “proactive” technical, management and operational security controls and protections. I also believe that we have the local ICT expertise in Barbados to become regional leader for the future delivery of a wide range of cyber security technical, management, operational support services to both the public and private sectors that will be needed with government support.
With that said below are a few things Barbados can do to strengthen our posture in cyber security while cultivating and expanding this emerging ICT area:
Submitted by James Bynoe, VP Brownstone Consulting Firm
Will the Minister of Finance empower this emerging sector in the budget to be delivered later this month?
Barbados has had the potential to be the Caribbean’s recognized leader in a range of emerging ICT areas, unfortunately until Government takes decisive action to create the business atmosphere for effective ICT growth and expansion “nothing will happen”.
In the internet age … each day that Barbados delays creating the legislative and regulatory atmosphere for ICT business growth and expansion is a day we give to regional competitors like Jamaica, T&T and Grenada to take our rightful ICT place in the region, it’s that simply … and they will if we do nothing.
The international ICT industry operates on new world order rules which embraces ICT “INNOVATION, IDEAS, AND PERFORMANCE”… Barbados has to learn to embrace this new way of thinking regarding ICT objectives and opportunities, and put to bed our old school colonial mindset.
Submitted by James Bynoe – BCF Cyber Security/ICT Executive
Basic Cloud Architecture
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a new ICT approach to delivering computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet). Cloud computing provides computation, software applications, data access, data management and storage resources without requiring cloud users to know the location and other details of the computing infrastructure.
“Cloud computing has the potential to significantly lower Barbados government enterprise ICT cost while improving overall ICT operations and support services.”
Barbados government cloud computing end users would be able to access cloud based applications through a web browser or a light weight desktop or mobile app while the business software and data are stored on servers at a remote location. At the foundation of cloud computing is the broader concept of infrastructure convergence and ICT managed services.
Need to integrate ICT in national policy formulation
The following was posted as a comment on another blog by Sid Boyce. Given the importance of ICT to the development of Barbados BU has chosen to give it prominence.
There is no overnight fix. First you need teachers who are qualified and experienced. Secondly you need students who are curious about acquiring knowledge through curiosity and self motivation. It’s not just a challenge for Barbados, we have the same here in the UK as noted in the following reports1,2, 3, 4.
You will see in one report with videos there is a guy from Microsoft, the problem is partly down to Microsoft who are only interested in maintaining a monopoly rather than in propagating “COMPUTING SKILLS”. And as all these reports show, ICT training is largely focused on using their “Office” tools and not on Computing skills per se. In a recent UN report dealing with progress in Namibia, Jordan and Singapore which I have stored somewhere on a computer here.
Namibia some years ago were offered free PC’s for their schools then they discovered they would have to buy expensive software from Microsoft in order to run on them. They declined the offer and a South African acquired used PC’s from other donors, installed Linux on them and assisted in getting the kids kick started in their use and into software development.
Barbados is rapidly losing the regional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) battle with T&T, Jamaica and Grenada being increasingly recognized as regional nations of choice for international ICT business investment, this is due largely to investments these nations have made in their national ICT infrastructure. Barbados has been overly focused on the tourism industry to the detriment of many other industries like ICT, a pattern which must end. Jamaica in the midst of their economic challenges have invested in creating a national ICT infrastructure that is now attracting international ICT investors like Digicel, which is now based in Jamaica but could/should have been based in Barbados.
What is the sense of having a well educated population if we don’t have jobs for our youth when they are done school. It is as though we need a major shock to our idea of life and liberty in Barbados (which by the way is the only reason to vote for the DLP in the next general election).
We as a society still view diplomas on a wall as proof of a profession’s worth and as a result of this institutional thinking they are many young Bajan entrepreneurs and “doers” who will never get a chance to “shine”, just because they did not go to Harrison or Queens College or UWI. If we as a nation are going to survive in the post-recession world, we have to change this mindset and way of thinking about education, for competitiveness sake.