By Gerard Best
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands, Thursday February 14 2019 — The Turks and Caicos Islands has been urged to strengthen its cyber security systems, in light of the country’s plans to invest more in the digital economy.
The call came from Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Liaison for the
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), as he addressed at event hosted by the Turks and Caicos Islands Telecommunications Commission, which was attended by more than 50 representatives from the government, private sector and the country’s Internet service providers.
“Cyber security is a major challenge for computer network operators across
the Caribbean,” Wooding said, as he underscored the susceptibility of regional countries to cyber attacks.
“The increasingly frequent headlines about data breaches, network attacks and computer viruses are not restricted to developed countries. Wherever you have computers, businesses or individuals connected to the Internet, there is a risk of attack. The Caribbean is not immune; in fact, the region is often considered a soft target by hackers.”
Wooding explained that limited technical capacity, outdated legislation and the absence of compliance and disclosure polices left many organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks. He advised government agencies, companies and Internet users in the Turks and Caicos to take steps to ensure their safety online.
“The onus is on individuals, organisations and companies to educate themselves and take practical steps to secure their data, devices and networks. A cyber breach is more than an inconvenience. It can bring down a company or destroy someone’s reputation,” he cautioned.
Acting Director General of the TCI Telecommunications Commission, Kenva Williams, said developing Turks and Caicos’ cyber security capacity is a top priority.
“Having speakers of Mr Wooding’s calibre address this important issue is one step in our efforts to foster greater national awareness of this important issue,” he added.
Williams shared that the deeper partnerships being developed with Internet organizations like ARIN, the Internet Society and the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) will be important to future efforts to build local capacity. In 2018, ARIN established the ARIN Caribbean Forum in collaboration with CaribNOG, to support efforts to strengthen regional capacity to deal with a broad range of Internet development issues including cyber security. Both non-profit organizations have agreed to collaborate with Turks and Caicos to continue education and outreach initiatives throughout 2019.