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OAS and Microsoft Release Report with Recommendations to Mitigate Cyber-attacks on Critical Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean

  March 5, 2018

OAS-Microsoft
The Organization of American States (OAS) and Microsoft today launched the report “Critical Infrastructure Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018,” which makes recommendations to develop a suitable critical infrastructure or policy framework in the region.Some of the practices recommended in the report include:
  • Ensuring clear division of responsibilities
  • Establishing security baselines
  • Developing early warning mechanisms
  • Investing in human and technical resources
  • Improving cyber resilience
  • Participating in international networks to understand the threat landscape

The report is the result of the OAS and Microsoft’s joint efforts to empower governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to respond and investigate cyber incidents, and reflects what is currently being done to limit the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyber-attacks across the region. In addition, the document suggests that while there is collaboration between the public and private sector, and a growing awareness of cybersecurity issues, more could be done to protect vital assets. Critical infrastructure includes services essential to the well-functioning of a society, such as financial services, energy, communications and water supply.

The report includes a survey that collected responses from more than 500 owners and operators of critical infrastructure. The document highlights that 69% of respondents indicated they have noticed an increase in the number of attacks to their computer systems and/or networks over the last 12 months, and 57% of the respondents indicated they did not have a dedicated budget for cybersecurity measures. The report also notes positive results:  among those respondents with a dedicated budget, 59% indicated budgets have increased within the last year.

The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, said “the results of this report reaffirm the need for regional leaders to strengthen their efforts to protect the breadth of our critical national assets. As a region, we have been able to make great strides and we continue improving effective cooperation in hemispheric security, but there still much ground to cover. In the OAS, though the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) and its Cybersecurity Program, we are ready to continue supporting member states to protect against these threats. At the same time, we urge governments and the industry to increase investments and efforts in the protection of the digital space, and above all, promote initiatives that enhance digital security knowledge for all citizens.”

With great challenges ahead and more sophisticated threats waiting for an opportunity to do harm, it is important to highlight that by strengthening the partnership between public and private organizations, it is possible to respond and be prepared for future cyberattacks. To this point, Robert Ivanschitz, Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft Latin America, commented: “Microsoft is committed to be a leader in privacy and security. Yet, cybersecurity is a pressing issue that cannot be resolved by a single entity. It has become a shared responsibility between multiple players, and the success will include working broadly with the public and private sector.” Microsoft’s focus on cybersecurity spans over four decades, and the company’s commitment in this area is evidenced by a unique posture to better protect and defend customers, including new security features at every level of the technology stack and fostering a vibrant ecosystem of partners to raise the bar across the industry.

Microsoft’s focus on cybersecurity spans over four decades, and the company’s commitment in this area is evidenced by a unique posture to better protect and defend customers, including new security features at every level of the technology stack and fostering a vibrant ecosystem of partners to raise the bar across the industry.

The complete report is available for download here.

Media Contacts:
Natalia Díaz
Communications Manager, Microsoft
nataliad@microsoft.com

Mónica Reyes
OAS Press Officer
MReyes@oas.org

Reference: E-009/18