On 28 July 2020, the Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre (GCSCC) participated at the launch of the second edition of a flagship report that assesses the state of cybersecurity readiness in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
The 2020 Cybersecurity Report, ‘Cybersecurity: Risks, Progress, and the way forward in Latin America and the Caribbean’ highlights efforts made by governments and other sectors in Latin America and the Caribbean to manage cyber-risks to their critical infrastructure, and exposes the challenges remaining, particularly for building user trust in E-commerce services.
The study was produced by the Organization of American States (OAS) in cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with the support of the GCSCC, who carried out a cybersecurity capacity review of Brazil in 2018 using the Cybersecurity Capacity Maturity Model for Nations (CMM), which has not only been completed twice in the 32 countries of the region but also over in over 80 countries including reassessments globally by the GCSCC and its partners since 2015.
The report was launched officially by Ana María Rodriguez, IDB’s Vice President for Sectors, Farah Diva Urrutia, OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, and Alison Treppel and Belisario Contreras from the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism. Professor Michael Goldsmith of the Department of Computer Science in the University of Oxford represented the GCSCC.
According to the report, since the last study published in 2016, more than half of the countries of the region have improved their cybersecurity mindset by developing and implementing national strategies or legal frameworks to better respond to evolving cyber-threats, including increased protection of citizens’ personal data.
However, the report also revealed that further efforts are still needed to strengthen cybersecurity in the region. More than three-quarters of the countries observed in this report currently lack the critical-infrastructure protection plans necessary for responding to cyber-attacks, a particularly worrying fact in a COVID-19 context. The majority of the countries of the region are also in need of more systematic and efficient capabilities to monitor and respond to cybersecurity incidents, as well as central bodies to be tasked with coordinating cybersecurity activities.
While important shifts in funding were detected, even greater governmental resources should be dedicated to help reduce the social and economic impact of cyber-incidents, which in 2019 alone are estimated to have cost over 90 billion dollars.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the document highlights the need for more active cooperation among all stakeholders to increase their cybersecurity readiness, particularly to address some common threats such as cybercrime, cyber-intrusions into critical networks, and politically motivated cyber-operations.
"The 2020 OAS regional study contributes significant data to the international cybersecurity-capacity community and advances global research efforts by providing data points to identify progression in a large set of countries since the first OAS report in 2016." said Prof Michael Goldsmith, Co-Director of the GCSCC.
“The message of this report is clear: Latin America and the Caribbean need to do more to improve its cybersecurity situation now,’’ said Ana María Rodriguez, the IDB’s Vice President for Sectors. “The findings are crucial to guide government efforts in the region, especially as the COVID-19 crisis accelerates our reliance on digital platforms in our professional and personal lives.”
For Farah Diva Urrutia, OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, “this report can serve as a roadmap for Member States and diverse stakeholders who are continuously looking for ways to adapt to emerging cybersecurity threats affecting our region. Although there is still work to be done, we are proud to be supporting the development of these capacities through our Cybersecurity Program and will continue to promote awareness of this issue, together with important partners such as the IDB.”
The IDB and the OAS present this joint report as a sign of their continued commitment to supporting the countries of the Americas in their efforts to strengthen cybersecurity.
The full report is available here, the IDB news release is here, and more detail can be found on https://www.cybersecurityobservatory.org/
More information about the GCSCC and the CMM: https://gcscc.ox.ac.uk