New computer security experts for Central America

30/03/2015

Twenty-eight representatives of public and private Costa Rican, Colombian and Nicaraguan companies and organizations participated in the Computer Security Training Workshop organized by LACNIC´s AMPARO project in San Jose, Costa Rica, on 9-13 March.

Participants received information and  training on how to handle sensitive information online and manage computer Internet security incidents. This initiative seeks to strengthen regional computer security capabilities and is part of LACNIC´s AMPARO project, the purpose of which is to prepare regional experts to address the growing security challenges posed by the significant increase in the number of social and economic transactions conducted online. By training experts throughout the region, AMPARO is promoting the creation of Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) in our continent.

Cesar Diaz, LACNIC’s External Relations Officer for Central America, told LACNIC News that the AMPARO workshops are designed to provide training opportunities on various computer security issues, including how to handle sensitive information, different types of response centers, CSIRT functions, operational and risk management policies, how to handle phishing incidents, botnet attacks, and secure DNS.

Diaz told LACNIC News that the Costa Rica workshop had provided participants with the opportunity to share their concerns regarding technical issues such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and spam, among others. For example, Diaz recalled that workshop participant Gabriel Cambronero of RACKLODGE had mentioned different computer security incidents he had had to face and what had led him to implement immediate responses. Diaz added that Cambronero had mentioned his organization had had to preventively identify their customers in order to know what activities they were involved in and thus be able to respond immediately in case of a potential incident.

Is there general agreement on the damage caused by computer security incidents in the region?

Diaz: For Leonardo Camano of COMPULEAR, awareness of the damage caused by computer security incidents in Costa Rica does exist. However, many of these incidents involve more than just one country, which is why we need to identify them in a timely manner so that users are not affected.

Based on reported incidents, what types of entities have been affected the most?

Diaz: According to Gabriel Cambronero, attacks against banking system networks have been identified and this has resulted in the implementation of strong security policies aimed at safeguarding these customers. He mentioned cases where certain banks had had to migrate to other platforms and services to improve their security.

Is it possible to quantify the damage caused by computer security incidents in Central America?

Diaz: The exact damage caused in Central America is not known. It has been established, however, that the region –including Costa Rica– is being affected by security issues. This is why handling these incidents requires national and global coordination.

 

Spam is considered to be a particularly severe problem in Central America. What are you planning to do about it?

Diaz: The two experts agreed that spam affects them to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the clients that seek their services.

Both noted that clients requesting a large number of IP addresses are more likely to engage in spamming, which is why they apply the Know Your Customer policy before providing the service.

Technical solutions such as NetFlow, firewalls, etc. exist that can be used on their equipment and systems to minimize spamming.

How can the rise in online malicious activity be addressed?

Diaz: In order to face growing levels of malicious activity a Know Your Customer policy needs to be applied.

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