Cybersecurity in the Dutch Caribbean

The Caribbean, like the rest of the world, is increasingly reliant upon cloud-based solutions, IT enabled business processes and the internet of things. This naturally means that cybercrime is also on the rise in these countries.

The Caribbean region has recently experienced instances of hacking-attacks on Government entities, electronic theft of funds from national banks, and the rising use of cryptocurrencies to support criminal operations.

In 2014 $150 million were stolen from an international bank, which was the largest data theft in the Caribbean, and in 2015 individuals, claiming to be local supporters, hacked government websites. In the same year, hackers infected tax authorities with ransomware, which blocks users from accessing their system and demands money. Such cybercrimes have had a disastrous effect on national security and, if not handled immediately, might have seriously hampered the Caribbean States' social and economic development.

That is why Caribbean governments created The Caricom Cyber Security and Cybercrime Action Plan (CCSCAP) in March 2016.

This is a broad range of actions used to secure digital data and information against criminal attacks. It aims to address cyber security weaknesses in each member Caribbean country.

The cybercrime action plan identifies five priority areas of intervention for addressing cyber security and cybercrime issues in the Caricom region: public awareness; sustainable capacity; technical standards and infrastructure; legal environment; and regional and international assistance.

Such steps are necessary to improve cyber security and combat cybercrime in the region, as they raise awareness, develop new skills, establish appropriate legal and technical frameworks, measure effective mechanisms for responding to threats and incidents, and cultivate global collaborative relationships.

Due to governments working together, the public awareness of security protection was also raised.

Significant digitalisation provided a pathway for engagement and connectivity. Its’ benefits are clear because of the transformation in cybersecurity in the Caribbean by providing automation computerised protection (ACP). That improves cyber resilience and keeps transforming the disbalance between defenders and attackers. Furthermore, in February 2022, Caribbean online experts with the Caribbean cyber security centre launched cyber threats and security insights series, in which they discuss the trends, occurrences and protection in the region, which helps all citizens to be aware of cyber protection and personal online security.

Fortunately, governments and law enforcement organisations across the Caribbean are collaborating to tackle cybercrime. As a result, the reaction to widespread rises in cybercrime must be international. Basic online safety and strong security practices, such as using unique and strong passwords for each service and adopting effective data security policies, may help businesses and individuals defend themselves against rising risks.

Governments must maintain activities to protect cybersecurity, but citizens must therefore be educated on how to protect themselves. As previously said, cybercrime is a worldwide issue, requiring regional partnership in order to win the virtual battle.

BDO Dutch Caribbean launched a Cyber Security Breakfast Seminar on June 3rd where the main topics were covered:

  • The ever-evolving state of Cybercrime & cybersecurity and what organizations can do to better equip themselves against unforeseen events
  • The digital transformation journey and challenges

Discussion was centred around moving to the cloud and other challenges that an accelerated digital transformation can entail for an organisation and its management/ employees.