The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS) have launched a joint effort to assess the state of cyber security in Latin America and the Caribbean.
At a jointly organized workshop in Washington DC last week, officials said they want to “find out how countries are prepared to protect their critical infrastructure against cyber threats.”
The workshop was organized for officials responsible for Internet security in member countries to discuss with experts means of beefing up cyber security.
Attendees at the event expressed concern at the lack of training and awareness about cyber security in the region, which has 250 million internet users who spend almost nine hours a month on social media.
According to the IDB’s press release for the event, only Trinidad and Tobago has a strategy in place to deal with cyber security and only a few other countries are in the process of developing such measures
“Cyber-attacks have threatened to derail electoral voting processes in several OAS member states, putting into peril democratic institutions that underpin their political systems,” warned Albert Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General of the OAS.
The OAS says it will soon lobby regional governments to make available comprehensive cyber security training for officials responsible for monitoring Internet service.
At the event, cyber security experts from Canada, Spain, the United States, Estonia and Israel described methods of bolstering firewalls.
According to a recent survey conducted by consulting firm Fortinet, as many as 80% of businesses in Mexico have bolstered their IT staff with the sole aim of protecting against potential cyber attacks. Nearly half of Mexican companies suffer minor or large-scale cyber attacks, according to a past survey from Earnest and Young.
“Globally, more than half a million websites are under attack daily,” the IDB said, adding that without cyber security policies, these attacks can inhibit socioeconomic progress.