Grenada has added a critical element to its overall ICT ecosystem with the creation of the National Cyber Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).
Prime Minister and Minister for ICT, Dr the Rt Hon. Keith Mitchell launched CSIRT on Thursday, during a ceremony at the Grenada Trade Centre. This team essentially provides a central point for support and advice relevant to cybersecurity.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the prevalence of technology in daily life and the reshaping of economies through digital transformation. As such he said, “ICT has now become a central pillar in the overall development landscape.”
Dr Mitchell who is also the Lead Head for Science and Technology in the Caricom Quasi Cabinet, spoke of Government’s commitment to “ensuring that the proper frameworks are put in place, so that our young entrepreneurs can harness the benefits afforded by the digital transformation efforts.”
He added, “To effectively capitalise on the opportunities, our citizens must be able to comfortably and confidently engage in the digital revolution. Government has a responsibility to ensure that all citizens, from the youngest to the most senior among us, feel secure in this technological environment.”
The advent of the digital revolution has brought about a proliferation of cybercrimes worldwide. Grenada has faced its own challenges, with the impersonation of public personalities, identity and credit card theft and email-based scams, also known as phishing.
Dr Mitchell said given these evolving threats in the digital space, online security is a top priority on the resilience agenda. Ultimately, Government intends to create a National Cyber Security Agency to further the process of digital transformation and improve resilience in the digital space.
Dr Mitchell noted too, that Government has already put into place the enabling framework and legislation to govern the IT space and implemented the Information Management Plan. This he explained, “seeks to ensure the safety and credibility of Government’s e-commerce platforms and the safety of public documents and records, including sensitive client information and documents.”
Explaining the significance of the newly launched team, IT Officer, Jervis DaBreo said CSIRT is about investigating and analysing cyber incidents. He said, “We are the people you turn to when you receive that email or text message you’re unsure about; if you need someone to verify a website for you: to provide cyber awareness training and tips. We are the people you should follow online to stay in the know on the latest threat, attack vectors and ways to protect you. We are the ones who will click the link so you don’t have to and risk unleashing cyber-hell on your digital life.”
In her remarks, delivered virtually at Thursday’s launch, Jennifer Britton of the Caricom Secretariat in Guyana, underscored the need for ongoing engagement among regional countries on the critical issue of cyber security.
She said, “No CSIRT community can be successful in isolation, just as no country can be secure on its own. However, there are not yet enough formal CSIRT teams in the Caricom region, therefore I urge this new team to reach out to the rest of the OECS and Caricom, in your role as forerunners and encourage them to work on the formation of national, sub-regional and regional CSIRTs. The importance of maintaining constant dialogue within and between countries in the context of cyber-attacks cannot be underscored.”