Gov’t to establish cybersecurity authority, says Green

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Floyd Green says the Government is focused on initiating a national authority to strengthen a multi-agency approach for the country’s cybersecurity.

Green, who was delivering a presentation on the national identification system (NIDS), told a virtual cybersecurity CISCON conference hosted by the Northern Caribbean University on Wednesday that NIDS has employed “ethical hackers”.

“… The national identification system already has people who do these penetration tests. We have a red team employed to ensure that we are checking our system to see if there are any vulnerabilities and that we are fixing before any goes untoward,” he explained.

“We are also as a Government looking to establish a national cybersecurity authority, moving from what we have now which is a cyber-incident response team (CIRT) to have an authority that would engage with both public and private sector around cyber security,” he added.

“The Government recognises that cybersecurity is a national imperative and the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology is spearheading the charge in relation to the cybersecurity authority…. We have looked at [CIRT] and we realised that we do need a much more all-encompassing entity that will look at cybersecurity not just in terms of response, but that will streamline some of the Government activities, whether it be through agencies such as the [Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency], and that will also look at what happens with the private sector in relation to cybersecurity,” Green said.

Green did not give a timeline for the implementation of the authority that would upgrade CIRT, but said the Government would be getting help from overseas.

“We are engaging with a number of our international partners to develop a design for the cybersecurity authority. Already funds have been committed to have that happen,” Green said, while pointing out that portfolio minister Daryl Vaz has responsibility for the project.

Green said, too, that the proposed authority will help to safeguard NIDS.

“[It] will impact all that we do in NIDS. We often don’t see it from this angle, but I think we appreciate that in this modern age of technology and cyber incidents and cyberattacks we can’t have identification systems that are not fit for purpose, that haven’t been designed with all the safeguards you need in this modern world. [NIDS] is an identification system that is fit for purpose that is designed in keeping with the present-day realities of cybersecurity,” he said.

He reiterated that the Government is looking towards the national roll-out of NIDS in the second quarter of 2023, following the completion of a pilot project in the Corporate Area next month.

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