In an admission that will give little comfort to Barbadians, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said nothing of note has been done to combat cyber crime since a meeting in 2010 that identified “serious challenges”.
Therefore, the country remains exposed to attacks by cyber criminals, Brathwaite told the 3rd America’s Working Group meeting on cyber crime for heads of units which was held Wednesday at the Regional Training School in Paragon, Christ Church.
Stating that the entire English speaking Caribbean was vulnerable, the Attorney General said small developing countries like Barbados simply did not have the resources to effectively wrestle the threat.
“We have been playing catch-up in the last few years. In 2010 we had a meeting here which looked at the issue as it relates to Barbados. We accepted that we have serious challenges. Seven years later I wished that I could say to you that we feel comfortable as a country and as a region that we are at this time addressing the issue of cyber crime.
“We do have some capacity issues; we do have some financial issues and we do have some knowledge issues. This challenge would not go away,” he told the meeting.
Cybercrime cost the global economy over $450 billion in 2016, according to Steve Langan, chief executive at Hiscox Insurance, a Bermuda-incorporated insurance provider, which, among other services, offers cover against such risks as hacking. Some researchers predict the cost climbing to as much as $2.1 trillion by 2019.
Brathwaite said like the authorities, cyber criminals were identifying deficiencies in the systems in the region.
“There is one difference – the criminal elements have more resources than the small developing countries which make up the Caribbean region. They are able to buy into the best accounting skills, the best legal skills and the best computer skills. This explains why it is important for us as small developing states to draw on the experience of the developed countries which would have more experience in this area,” he said.
Government announced in 2014 that it would establish a computer incident response team to assess the country’s readiness and cyber security capability, and last July, Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat Shadrach Haruna said the intergovernmental body was working with Barbados to help it respond to the 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,” Haruna told a national cybercrime and cyber security awareness workshop here.