CASTRIES, St Lucia, Wednesday May 6, 2015 – Concerned about the recent attack on the official website of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines government, the administration of Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony is taking steps to strengthen its own cyber security.
In a statement issued yesterday, the government said the incident in the neighbouring island appeared to be part of a trend of increasing reports of cyberattacks of various kinds regionally and internationally.
“As the Government of St. Lucia seeks to continually enhance its online presence and make more of its services accessible online to citizens and other users, it is ever mindful of the increasing importance of cyber security. This is why it has embarked on numerous initiatives and taken several proactive measures to reduce the possibility of successful attacks on Government information and technology assets as well as to reduce the negative impact should such incidents occur,” it said.
“These measures are multi-layered and involve active cooperation among various personnel and collaboration with agencies and authorities at the national, regional and international levels.”
It added that the cyberattack highlighted the need for everyone, at the Government, private sector, civil society and individual levels to be cognizant of the importance of cyber security.
“From the simplest of measures like strengthening passwords, periodically changing them and not sharing them with others, to not responding to phishing attacks and other internet schemes that seek to cause you to post personal information online, to more detailed ones like regularly using up-to-date antivirus software and periodically conducting security scans of your computers and networks, we can all play our part in minimizing the risk posed by these cyber threats. The government of St. Lucia will continue to employ all practicable means at its disposal to reduce its vulnerability to cyberattacks and to mitigate the impacts of such attacks should one take place,” the statement said.
A group claiming to be affiliated with radical Islamist group ISIS hacked www.gov.vc on Sunday, posting a photograph of a man on the back of a pickup truck firing a machine gun and the headline “Hacked by Moroccanwolf – Islamic State” above a message denouncing US and NATO forces for overthrowing governments of sovereign nations and undermining, threatening, refusing to recognise and seeking to destroy democratically elected governments in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, and Palestine.
However, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said he had been assured that the cyberattack had not compromised government emails.