JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Banks, cambios and other financial institutions are showing keen interest in the two-day conference on Cyber Security and Digital Forensics.
  • There is a great deal of insecurity in the cyber network and the conference will offer an opportunity to stakeholders to address the issues in a meaningful way.
  • Recommendations for amendments to strengthen the Cybercrimes Act are to be tabled in Parliament shortly.

Banks, cambios and other financial institutions are showing keen interest in the two-day conference on Cyber Security and Digital Forensics, scheduled to begin at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus on September 30.

“I am very impressed at the speed in which banking and financial institutions became associated with this conference. It is an expression of their own interest and concern for the security of their clients and the public,” says Professor of Communications Policy and Digital Media, and Director of the Mona ICT Policy Centre,Hopeton Dunn.

Professor Dunn, who is also Chairman of the two-day conference, says three of these institutions, the National Commercial Bank (NCB), Jamaica National Building Society (JN), and First Global Bank, have committed senior representatives to make presentations and participate in the conference. The Police and the Ministry of National Security are also to play major roles in the conference.

“I think that the banking sector is associating themselves with this conference to speak to the kind of concerns they need to critically address in a more wholesome way,” he adds.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Julian Robinson, addressing a JIS Think Tank, says it is in the best interest of the institutions to participate.

“I think it’s important to note that they are playing a very active role, they are partnering with government in many areas because they recognise it is in their best interest. Whatever the field, no-one wants their systems being vulnerable,” Minister Robinson explains.

According to Computer Hacking and Forensic Investigator, Georgia Gibson-Henlin, who is also an attorney-at-law, there is a great deal of insecurity in the cyber network and the conference will offer an opportunity to stakeholders to address the issues in a meaningful way.

“A lot of reliance has been placed on it (global information network). A lot of our financial information has been put on it and so we have become at risk to hackers and persons with mal-intent,” she explains.

“Part of why this conference is important is that we need a structured framework in terms of going forward; a structure within which to create the strategy, with multiple stakeholders,” she contends.

Key issues to be addressed include: how to raise public awareness; information sharing; the matter of privacy; the creation of a cyber-security framework; and a cyber security strategy.  This will involve arriving at a decision on who is allowed to be involved and it takes on added significance out of the recognition that the networks are privately owned.

The conference will also discuss Commercial Cyber Espionage, which is having an impact on financial enterprises in Jamaica.

Minister Robinson, in acknowledging the occurrences of corporate espionage in Jamaica, says the conference will definitely address the concern in a fulsome way.

“We’re not talking about a man hacking into a website and defacing it. We’re talking about criminals doing this for financial gain, or to prove a point. Imagine for example, the Air Traffic Control system (being hacked). You’ll quickly recognize the (significant) damage that can be done. There are just so many ways someone with a computer can create havoc and we need to be on top of that as a country,” he contends.

The organisers of the conference are looking for specific outcomes with Professor Dunn promising that the second day will see the crafting of documents and the setting of actionable strategies.

“So it’s not going to be about nice conversations; we’re going to be looking to take strong and specific action in association with different stakeholders,” he explains.

In the meantime, Minister Robinson reveals that recommendations for amendments to strengthen the Cybercrimes Act are to be tabled in Parliament shortly. He says the proposed adjustments were made by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament which he chairs.

The Cybercrimes Act has sanctions for the misuse of computer systems or data and facilitates the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. Provision has also been made for the Act to be reviewed every five years.

The State Minister informs that the issue of cyber security is at the forefront of Government’s agenda and amending this legislation is one of several strategies being put in place to deal with cyber crimes. He further notes that a Cyber Emergency Response team was established with assistance from the International Telecoms Union.

The conference will begin at 9:00a.m. each day at the University of the West Indies, Mona.