Keep an eye on cybercrime, warns RSS chief

One of Barbados’ top security officials warns that cyber attacks and fraud will become more prolific in Barbados and the rest of the region as countries engage in more e-commerce methods and line to do business.

The Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS), Captain Errington Shurland, made the assessment on Wednesday, noting that over the past year there has been an increase in such criminal activity in some jurisdictions.

And indicating that the region was still not sufficiently prepared to deal with these threats, Shurland proposed that special attention be paid to these types of crimes by law enforcement, in the same way as the emphasis is focused on drug and gun related activities.

His comments came as he was addressing the 65th Annual Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Health Research Conference, held under the theme Pandemic, NCDs and climate change; The triple threat of the Caribbean.

Shurland, who participated in a panel discussion, said the RSS had noticed that while security concerns had been “assuaged during the lockdown,” there had been a noticeable increase in some criminal activity after the lockdown.

“What has really taken off is cybercrime and cybercrime activities, as well as the trade in counterfeit and substandard goods, as well as different types of fraud and organized property crime schemes.

“This, I’m afraid, is going to be the modus operandi of criminal activity in the future as we embrace e-commerce, as we increasingly embrace training, as we embrace platform education. and meetings on digital platforms. Criminals will have new and adapted ways of attacking our people using the virtual platform, ”Shurland warned.

He said the pandemic had reinforced the need for partnerships with international development partners.

“Multilateralism must be the platform, the path, the mechanism that we must necessarily use.

“This is the only path we have, and although we have the capacity to make a limited response in the region, we need to elevate the conversation within international forums to highlight not only what we can do, but more importantly how. the global village must work to deal with a pandemic such as COVID-19, ”he said.

Highlighting the attack on a major US pipeline last month, which took it offline for several days, Shurland said that the use of online learning and transaction methods is increasing, attacks and impact. could be considerable.

“The fact that we are going to use digital media more and more is where I see our biggest challenge. And one of the vulnerabilities in the region is that I don’t think we are properly prepared for this type of threat, ”he said.

“We now need to view cybercrime as perhaps the match for gun and drug crime and be properly prepared, whether your CCERP (Cyber ​​Security Education, Research and Practice) can conduct this investigation, so that you can be proactive enough to recognize that there is a vulnerability and be ready to respond to that vulnerability, ”he said.

Providing a brief summary of some of the RSS’s work over the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shurland said the Barbados-based unit, which has been set up to respond to the needs of Member State Security, has carried out more than 250 flights across the region due to the pandemic.

“We actually did our first sample movement on February 12, 2020,” he said.

“So far, we have made 256 flights and over 1,200 flight hours, and it is about moving COVID samples to the CARPHA laboratory, repatriation of people for medical treatment on humanitarian grounds, the movement medical personnel, the medical technician movement, the PPE movement and other COVID-19 related supplies like disinfectants and bleach etc., ”Shurland said.

“What this told us is that as a region we have to be flexible and resilient enough to be able to respond to any kind of scenario,” he said.
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James F. So