NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS) conducted a two-day visit to Nassau, Bahamas, from April 24-25, as a part of the technical assistance to be provided to the government of The Bahamas for the development of its national cyber security strategy, through an initiative that will be coordinated by the OAS cyber security program together with the ministry of national security of The Bahamas.
During this visit, a two-day national workshop was held on the development of a national strategy for the establishment of a national computer incident response team (CIRT). The technical mission was led by cyber security specialists from the OAS with the participation of an expert consultant in the area of CIRT development. The group discussed various approaches in the development and implementation of the national strategy, and participants were guided through working group sessions to formulate the main tenets of the strategy.
The visit formed part of a larger offer of assistance aimed at helping The Bahamas to develop its national cyber security strategy and national CIRT, and includes follow-up support to facilitate the expedient development and adoption of the strategy.
The executive secretary for the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) Neil Klopfenstein, said, “the OAS and the government of Bahamas since it joined in 1982 have had a mutually beneficial relationship through the exchange of learning and experiences. It is our pleasure to be in a position where we are able to provide this level of technical assistance to The Bahamas, recognizing that because of the economic success and per capita income and income distribution in the country it is a prime target for cyber criminals. The development and implementation of a national cyber security strategy in our current global context will allow The Bahamas to join other states in the fight against cybercrime. The OAS has already supported Colombia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago in this task, and we hope to continue providing this support to the other member states that require it.”
For his part, the minister of national security of The Bahamas, Bernard Nottage, noted that “the issue of cyber-crime, and how the criminal justice system deals with it, is becoming more and more important given the rise in the use of the internet and the country’s increasing reliance on systems which are vulnerable to new forms of attack.”
“We look forward to the expert advice to be shared at this workshop on various approaches that can be adopted in the development and implementation of the national strategy,” he added.
“The workshop is important,” concluded Nottage, “as we need a structured framework in terms of going forward; a structure within which to create the strategy, with multiple stakeholders.”
This initiative is among several such activities planned for 2014 by the OAS cyber security program, which has initiated discussions with other member states regarding the current state of development or implementation of their national cyber security strategies and has offered tailored technical assistance towards this end.
The OAS/CICTE cyber security program is the result of a decision by the OAS General Assembly to adopt a comprehensive Inter-American cyber security strategy in 2004.
The Organization was mandated to develop the cyber security capabilities of its member states with a focus on establishing computer security and incident response teams (CSIRTs); to raise awareness on the importance of cyber issues and the creation of a culture of cyber security; as well as to support the development of cyber security policy frameworks.
As such, as of 2013 the program has assisted 19 member states through working closely with the governments of the Americas to establish national CSIRTs. It has also helped three member states to develop and officially adopt comprehensive national cyber security strategies.