Urgent Actions Required to Curb Cybercrime in Latin America and the Caribbean

03/11/2011

The first study on cybercrime in Latin America and the Caribbean recommends implementing immediate actions to curb malicious activities over the Internet.

According to the conclusions of the first Overview of Cybercrime in Latin America, a study presented in Buenos Aires during the LACNIC XVI meeting, the magnitude of cybercrime in Latin America and the Caribbean means that adopting actions at regional level and generating action plans in each country are essential to ensure that the benefits of information technologies can be taken advantage of and their risks minimized.

This study, which was conducted with the support of LACNIC’s Amparo Project, notes that the speed with which technological developments are occurring within the region and the inevitable growth of cybercrime make it necessary to establish plans to avoid Internet fraud and scams.

Patricia Prandini and Marcia Maggiore, authors of the abovementioned research, said that current cybercrime levels in Latin America are worrying, with high probability of cyberattacks and costly potential consequences for the population which would add to the phishing costs that banks suffer in excess of 93 billion dollars a year.

In their work, Prandini and Maggiore present a series of recommendations for governments. They propose developing national cybersecurity strategies that consider the protection of State critical infrastructure, with an increase in incident response capability and the creation of specialized agencies. They also suggest implementing awareness-creating campaigns and establishing coordination mechanisms with the private sector and other countries as well as modifying the legal framework so that cybercrime can be punished.

The study also suggests that academic sectors should develop contents and programs for training to deal computer security professionals. As to the private sector, the study proposes creating working teams within organizations to deal with computer security from various points of view.

The authors warn that threats are becoming more complex and sophisticated and that a “criminal business model widely exploited through the Internet has been created, one which feeds a clandestine economy that is growing exponentially day by day”.

According to the study, criminals exploit technological vulnerabilities, regulatory voids, and the lack of user awareness, and take advantage of the global reach and rapid expansion of the Internet. This situation is compounded by the ease with which evidence can be erased and how difficult it is to identify them in the absence of specialists or the proper tools.

The full study can be found at:
http://www.proyectoamparo.net/en/projects

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