Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 2nd 2014 Contents GERARD BEST
In Willemstad, Curacao
Cyber security topped the agenda as 60 tech-
nology professionals from 13 countries gathered
for a major regional technology conference.
The meeting is the eighth gathering of the
Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG)
and the sixth in a series of Caribbean meetings
hosted by the Latin American and Caribbean
Internet Addresses Registry (Lacnic).
The choice of venue for discussions about
Internet security seemed fitting. Curacao is an
exceptional Caribbean island, in that its critical
Internet infrastructure development allows it to
offer data centre services to a global market.
Because technology-based enterprise is such
an important part of the country s economy,
cyber security is recognised as an important,
said Shernon Osepa, manager of regional affairs
for the Internet Society (ISOC) Latin America
and the Caribbean, who is from Curacao.
"Curacao is not immune. We are facing the
same challenges as the wider Caribbean. A lot
of commercial banks in the region are being
attacked, but they simply don t report when
these attacks are done. So we know that they
are happening but we don t know to what extent,"
"These attacks are being masterminded by
people who are highly educated, technically
competent and very knowledgeable about
Caribbean security vulnerabilities. This is their
full-time job. And it is a global industry."
Osepa, alongside Albert Daniels, manager of
stakeholder engagement for the Caribbean at
the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN), delivered the day s first
presentations, which focused on the need to
secure critical Caribbean Internet infrastruc-
"2013 was the year of the mega-breach,"
Daniels said, explaining that the number of secu-
rity breaches reported internationally hit a high
last year, a trend that has continued in 2014.
Daniels said the region s businesses, govern-
ments and citizens need to better understand
the real-world repercussions of unsafe practices
in the digital realm.
One important aspect of education, he said,
was to develop the culture and capacity to report
confirmed or suspected cases of identity theft
and other kinds of Internet-based criminal activ-
"If you live in the Caribbean, don t think that
the hackers are not trying to use our systems
to perpetuate their crime. Even in the countries
where there are few reports, that simply means
that attacks are continuing to occur but are going
Without reporting, decision-makers are unable
to make informed decisions to properly address
cyber security issues, said Elgeline Martis, head
of the Caribbean Cyber Emergency Response
"We in the Caribbean are not collecting data,
so we cannot support our decision makers in
taking the right cyber security measures. We
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need to start collecting our own data," she said.
"For example, if we collect data and we see that
spam is a big issue, then we are able to tell decision-
makers they should invest in solving problems with
spam. You always need updated facts and figures to
support informed decision-making."
In the following session, Mark Kosters, chief technical
officer with the American Registry of Internet Numbers
(ARIN) and Carlos Martínez, chief technology officer
at Lacnic, took a more practical and in-depth look at
the nuts and bolts of Internet security. Martinez said
he was "very, very disappointed" with the security
industry because their operatives were being motivated
by the wrong incentives. He compared digital security
to national security.
"It works the same way as a private prison. Their
best interest is to keep things in a bad state. Their
best business comes about by having a bad security
situation. What is the financial incentive for them to
improve the overall security situation? The best interest
of the private prison is to have many prisoners but
is that in the best interest of society? No, but the
financial incentives of the security industry are wrong."
The final session of the day was a practical lab on
network defense techniques, moderated by Fernando
Gont of SI6 Networks.
"The best way to improve the security of your net-
work is to break into it. You can t defend a network
if you don t know how to attack it," Gont said.
After the lab, which walked participants through
many basic and advanced concepts of network vul-
nerability and risk mitigation, the formal part of the
day ended on a collegial note, with participants lingering
in pockets of conversation long after the official close
of the final session. Many were making plans to regroup
for more informal social networking.
Business meetings over meals and side meetings
during coffee breaks are a regular and important feature
of the week long conference, which attracts technology
professionals of varied nationalities, representing
diverse interests. Day Two attracted participants from
Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, Belize, Curacao, Grenada,
Mexico, St Lucia, St Vincent, T&T, USA, Uruguay
CaribNOG 8-Lacnic Caribbean 6 covers a range of
technology topics including cyber security, cloud com-
puting, mobile broadband and other critical Internet
infrastructure. Day Three will focus on critical Internet
infrastructure, such as exchange points and routers.
Sessions will be led by Bevil Wooding, founder and
executive director of CaribNOG, Claire Craig, doctoral
researcher at The University of the West Indies, Junior
Mc Intyre, Caribbean Telecommunications Union
project coordinator for the Caribbean Regional Com-
munications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP), Chris
Roberts, CARCIP St Lucia project co-ordinator, Nico
Scheper, AMS-IX Caribbean and Arturo Servin, Google.
Experts join heads on
Caribbean cyber security
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