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Commonwealth cybercrime experts in Barbados call for robust cybersecurity

1 July 2016

The Commonwealth Secretariat delivered specialist cybercrime security awareness advice to a National Cybercrime and Cyber Security Awareness workshop in Barbados last week, as part of the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative.

The programme was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Government of Barbados.

Representatives from the public sector, private sector, academia, and civil society attended the seminars focussing on the emerging threats from cybercrime, the relationship with the Sustainable Development Goals, and the actions required of the government while developing a response to the threat of cybercrime.

Recent research points to the cost of cybercrime climbing to as much as $2.1 trillion by 2019. Offending is a major challenge for investigators, and the practical implications of this include the need for a high degree of skill, high quality equipment and extensive training in cybersecurity and law enforcement.

Shadrach Haruna, Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat said: “The cost of cybercrime is monumental, impacting on business and developmental programmes, and could run into trillions of dollars by 2019 if nothing is done to respond to the current and emerging threats.”

“Following a request from the Government of Barbados, the Commonwealth Secretariat is working closely with the country to develop robust governance systems to combat the scourge of cyber-crime. During the event, we provided delegates with an improved understanding of how they can strengthen Barbados’ capacity to detect and diminish the growing threat of cybercrime.”

Measures proposed by the Commonwealth experts to combat cybercrime included a call for all Commonwealth countries to adopt and disseminate national cyber security strategies, develop capacities in law enforcement and other critical sectors, the creation of a national committee on cybersecurity, and a cybersecurity awareness campaign, targeting diverse stakeholders from business, politics and civil society.

Parliamentarians, permanent secretaries from national ministries and government cabinets were also briefed as part of the event programme. These meetings explored necessary responses to the risks associated with cybercrime such as malware, the ‘Internet of Things’, and the ‘dark web’.

Commenting on the need for enhanced cybersecurity awareness, Clifford Bostic, Deputy Chief Telecommunications Officer, Division of Energy and Telecommunications, said: “These workshops are part of a process first started a long time ago and it’s important to keep this momentum going.

“Cybercrime is a monster - a real monster. One of the purposes of the government is to get it more connected, therefore we must focus in on cyber security before it gets worse. Security has to be kept a little bit ahead of the criminals. When departments make purchases, trade and invest, cybersecurity must be kept in mind like all other precautions and risk management concerns.”

Rodney Taylor, a Director in the Data Processing Department at the Government of Barbados said: “The seminars created a sharp focus on the main issues. The presentations for the Cabinet are important because political buy-in is a key part of the process. We can make progress by setting up National Coordinating Committees and bring other partners involved to promote debate and ensure concrete action takes place.”

The Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI) unites 35 international organisations, including Interpol, OAS, Council of Europe (CoE), Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and ITU, contributing to multidisciplinary programmes in Commonwealth countries. These organisations form the CCI Consortium. Read more: thecommonwealth.org/commonwealth-cybercrime-initiative.