The Organization of American States (OAS) has announced that it will send a team of international experts to assist Colombia in a “mission” to improve cyber security.
The “Technical Assistance Mission” is being sent at the request of President Juan Manuel Santos, and will involve representatives from over a dozen countries, including the US, UK, and Israel.
Speaking of the OAS’ mission, Colombia’s Defense Minister, Juan Carlos Pinzon, said, “[cyber crime] represents one of the main challenges of the Colombian government, it is crucial to have the support of the OAS in order to achieve this international block that will enable us to provide security for all citizens when they are in the network.”
The OAS has been active in strengthening Colombia’s cyber security program. Under the organization’s guidance, Colombia has developed a “National Cyber Security and Cyber Defense Policy,” which led to the creation of the Colombian Cyber Emergency Response Group (colCERT), and the Cyber Police Center (CCP).
The institution also assisted in developing measures to protect the computer programs that control Colombia’s critical infrastructure, and have provided training to a large number of Colombian officials.
Under the auspices of the OAS’ Cyber Security Program, Colombia became the first Latin American country to develop a national cyber defense strategy.
The OAS has also played a significant role in encouraging cooperation and information sharing between member-states, as well as providing technical assistance and policy recommendations.
Cyber crime, stealing money or information via technology, has been on the rise in Colombia, costing the country $500 million in 2013, according to Colombian financial magazine Portofolio.
The increasing use of mobile phones and internet banking have seen rising opportunities for cyber crime.
Disturbingly, the most common method (4 in 10) cyber crimes were discovered was by accident. According to KPMG’s Fraud Survey 2013, only one in three instances are discovered by systems set up to police cyber-crime.
Colombia’s Cyber crime Police Center Colonel Bautista, told Portofolio that police had captured more than 343 Colombians cyber-criminals in 2013.
- OAS to Carry out Technical Assistance Mission on Cyber Security in Colombia (OAS statement)
- OAS Cyber Security Program (OAS)
- Explainer: Fighting Cybercrime in Latin America (Council of the Americas)
- Fraud Survey Colombia 2013 (KPMG)
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