WASHINGTON, USA -- The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS) has presented a mobile simulation laboratory of advanced technology that will be incorporated into its program to respond to cyber attacks and will be available to member states in order to help them secure their critical infrastructure and information systems.
“The CICTE Secretariat, with the support of the Department of Information Technology (DOITS) and experts from several member states, has developed a mobile lab that will be used to train incident-response personnel in the Americas,” said the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, during the presentation of the mobile laboratory held at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The simulation lab will reinforce the ability of the OAS to support its member states in preventing, detecting, deterring, and mitigating the effects of cyber attacks, and in the prosecution and conviction of those responsible for them. During the presentation of the mobile laboratory, a simulation exercise was conducted, which was attended by several ambassadors and representatives of the OAS member states. The first simulation exercises with the new equipment will begin during this year’s last quarter in Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico.
Ramdin said that “cyber security threats” and vulnerabilities that show the new technologies, “are currently affecting people from all walks of life in the Americas and beyond.”
“Just following news events, we can perceive the increasing number of cyber security incidents occurring around the world, such as attacks against the servers of governments and private companies,” he added.
The new lab, donated by the State Department, will also allow for the increase in the scope of testing since it brings together, in one place, the private sector, academia, civil society and government authorities.
During the last regular session of CICTE, all 34 OAS member states adopted what became to be known as the “Declaration on Strengthening Cyber Security in the Americas”. This declaration calls all member states to develop national cyber security strategies; to establish national computer security incident response teams, also known as CSIRTs; to strengthen international and hemispheric cooperation mechanisms in cyber security; and to work with the private sector to protect critical communications infrastructure.
The executive secretary of CICTE, Neil Klopfenstein, recalled that over the last decade, most governments in the region have become aware "of the risks that cyber threats pose to national security, economic well-being and social development."
“But all we know being aware is not enough. To achieve cyber security, we must accept that achieving it is a never-ending process. New methods and tools are always being employed by those attempting to destroy our critical networks,” he added.
Anne Witkowski, Deputy Coordinator for Homeland Security and Multilateral Affairs at the US State Department, which funded the lab, noted that there is “an increasing concern in the Western Hemisphere” on cyber security, because the hemisphere has one of the fastest growth rates of internet usage in the world. In this regard, she stressed the "critical" role played by the CICTE in cyber security in the Americas.