Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says that the Government is bolstering the nation’s cybersecurity by creating the necessary legislative framework and strengthening international partnerships.
He noted that as the world embraces digitalisation and there is increased use of the online space, it is imperative for the country to have up-to-date laws that provide safeguards against any possible cyberthreat.
“As an Administration, we take cybersecurity seriously. We are cognisant that Government must take a lead role in establishing the enabling environment for the development of the information and communication technology (ICT) and cybersecurity ecosystems in Jamaica,” he noted.
“It is against this backdrop that the Government has enacted legislation and forged stronger partnerships with our international partners to bolster our cyber infrastructure and strengthen our cybersecurity response,” Minister Vaz said.
He was speaking at the virtual launch of Cybersecurity Awareness Month on Friday (October 1) under the theme ‘Reimagining Cybersecurity in the Age of the Pandemic-Driven Hyper-Digitisation’.
The Minister said that currently, the Cybercrimes Act, 2015 is before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, where technical experts are working alongside lawmakers to ensure that Jamaica has modern and robust cybersecurity legislation.
As it relates to international partnerships, he informed that he will be leading a high-level ministerial and technical delegation to the United States (US) later this month to participate in consultations on ICT and cybersecurity.
He noted that the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team (Ja-CIRT) has benefited from collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS) in the implementation of an Early Warning System that will enable Ja-CIRT to provide alerts as soon as there is an exploitation of vulnerabilities.
This system, he said, has proven useful in helping Ja-CIRT to carry out its mandate to secure Jamaicans and Jamaica’s interests in cyberspace by ensuring increased cyber hygiene, cybersecurity awareness and resilience, through the advancement of cyber-incident response mechanisms.
He informed, further, that Cabinet has approved the establishment of a Cybersecurity eGovernance Academy by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Republic of Estonia to provide continuous training to boost cybersecurity.
He said that the project, which is at the development stage, is expected to help support professions in cybersecurity.
Minister Vaz noted that cybersecurity is everyone’s concern. “No one is immune. We are all at risk. Let us all take the time to use the Internet safely. Always think before you click; carefully examine the permissions that you give to apps and have strong and unique passwords for all accounts,” he said.
He further advised persons not to overshare on social media and ensure that they have the necessary firewalls and adequate security measures to mitigate cyberattack, and to report all cybercrime.
“We live in an era where we are not only protecting our geographic boundaries but our virtual borders as well. Cybersecurity is both a collective and individual responsibility. In an age where technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace, we need all hands on deck to fight the unseen enemy,” he said.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Senator Matthew Samuda and State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, who addressed the function, gave their ministries’ commitment to lend support for the nation’s cybersecurity response.
The launch of Cybersecurity Awareness Month was organised by Ja-CIRT, which is a division of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.
The entity will be undertaking several activities to observe the month.