Latin America is under cyber attack. Cyber attacks are on the rise globally, but Latin America is seeing more than its fair share.
According to an Eset Latin American Security Report (2017), the number of reported ransomware cases grew 131% in 2016. In Brazil alone, cyber attacks increased 197% in 2015, and a survey of Brazilian companies revealed that one-third had experienced a cybercrime (Trend Micro).
Why is Latin America experiencing such a significant jump in cyber attacks? Like the rest of the world, the number of people gaining access to Internet-connected devices in Latin America is growing. Unlike the rest of the world, however, several particular issues have been hampering the development of Latin America’s cyber security defenses (Lavinder, 2016). Below are three main reasons:
- There are few coordinated defense mechanisms. Many Latin American countries are beginning to develop Cyber Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) to handle attacks, but few countries have been found to have an intermediate level of preparedness.
- Public awareness is lacking. Many Latin American countries have not yet publicized the dangers of the Internet. Private industries also frequently believe that they are not targets, so they have not made preventative programs a high priority (Lemieux). Several countries have recently adopted national strategies on cyber security to improve public awareness though, and several others are making progress.
- There is a disconnect between public and private industries. According to leading cyber security experts, stakeholders have yet to develop enough trust to collaborate, and most Latin American countries are missing reputable clearinghouses or brokers of authoritative information to allow the establishment of formal information-sharing mechanisms. Businesses also often fear that reporting cyber attacks to the government will lead to penalties of a loss of consumer confidence (Contreras).
It is increasingly clear that Latin America is under cyber attack. The need for Latin America to address these issues and build up cyber security defenses is now more urgent than ever. Despite the existing challenges, a comprehensive approach to cyber security, including training for every network engineer, can help to protect organizations from cyber attack.
IEEE can help meet this need: click here to learn more about cyber security training from IEEE.
Lavinder, K. (2016, April 29). Latin America: The New Frontier for Cyber Attacks. The Cipher Brief.
McAfee report Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime.
Inter-American Development Bank, Organization of American States, Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre at the University of Oxford. (2016). Cybersecurity: Are We Ready in Latin America and the Caribbean?