Caribbean banks face rise in cyber attacks
BELIZE CITY, Belize — Picture doing a routine check on your money only to discover that an entire month’s worth of credit was swiped from your card. The problem became reality for one elderly Belizean couple, who fell victim to identification theft.
For Alejandro and Leandra Chulin, the story plot began five years ago with a troubling phone call using their son, who was at the time learning abroad. He had recently been looking to use their credit card but couldn’t. A few quick checks with the bank confirmed their worst fears. Someone experienced already maxed out the limit, racking up enough purchases to leave the Chulins in the gap to the tune of several hundred.
The cash was reclaimed but the damage remains. And now that Belize is taking much-needed steps to address identity fraud and other cyber risks, the Chulins are making the almost all of an unparalleled possibility to lend their tone to the national efforts and learn how to be more cyber safe.
The country’s recently determined national cybersecurity symposium helped bring together bankers and customers to place a spotlight on the growing incidence of cyber crimes against banks. Although the Chulins sat in a forum designed to describe cyber threats to the general public, the country’s finance sector associates gathered at the Central Bank for a special forum concentrating on practical strategies to defend against rising cyber attacks against finance institutions.
The weeklong meeting outlined major gaps in the region’s readiness to react to cyberattacks on financial institutions.
“It is commendable that Belize is designing a national platform for building awareness, regulating responses, detection and avoidance, ” he added.
The panel protected a broad selection of matters, including how to discover security attacks, the advantages and disadvantages of public disclosure of cyber attacks, and best practices for dealing with cyber attacks.
The symposium, held from Apr 24 to 28, was organized jointly by the Belize Public Utilities Commission and the Caribbean Network Operators Group, a charitable organization that actually works to safeguard the region’s computer networks.
“Cybersecurity is important for the complete Caribbean. As our citizens, businesses, banking institutions, and governments place greater reliance on Web-based technologies, greater attention should be paid to increase our ability to protect our computer networks and systems. And the crafting of any solution has to involve as many opinions as possible, ” said Bevil Wooding, one of the organizers of the event and an internet strategist at US-based Box Clearing House.
“That’s why an alternative, national strategy, as observed in Belize, is the best way to deal with the issues related to cybersecurity, ” he said.
On the back part of this historic event, the country of Belize has emerged as a not likely leader in the region, presenting a model for how other Caribbean jurisdictions can prepare for, protect against and respond to growing cyber threats.