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OAS Joins in Recognizing October as “Cyber Security Awareness Month”

  October 31, 2014

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), recognizing that cyber security is a shared responsibility, and in an effort to promote a culture of cyber security and assist its members to do so, joined in recognizing October as “Cyber Security Awareness Month.”

In making the announcement, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, noted that there are some 250 million internet users in Latin America and the Caribbean, and that the number is growing annually at a rate of 12% – the fastest in any region of the world. Nevertheless, he highlighted that “the internet’s facilitation of financial transactions and information flow increases the risk of exploitation and abuse through cyber crimes committed to gain access to personal and sensitive information.”

“Member states can make great progress on improving their cyber security capabilities – even with resource constraints – with simple but meaningful measures,” said the Secretary General, adding that raising public awareness on the issue is an important step toward securing the internet. The OAS leader recalled that “Cyber crime affects society as a whole, not only threatening individuals’ privacy, but also by potentially compromising a country’s critical infrastructure and ability to provide essential services to its citizens.” “Cyber criminals can spread simple or sophisticated threats by exploiting popular mobile and other personal devices to infiltrate high-value sectors of a country’s economy, such as transportation, energy, or financial systems,” he added.

With this in mind, the OAS has partnered with STOP.THINK.CONNECT, a global cyber security awareness raising initiative, to improve collaborative cyber security efforts among countries in the Americas. This partnership aims to assist member states by sharing best practices on cyber security education and awareness at the individual user level. The OAS invites member states to increase their efforts on implementing a comprehensive national cyber security policy, and to join STOP.THINK.CONNECT in establishing a coordinated and unified worldwide drive to create public awareness on cyber security.

The OAS Secretary of Multidimensional Security, Adam Blackwell, expressed his firm commitment to promote cyber security measures. He announced that the OAS General Secretariat will invite its member states in the upcoming days to recognize October as “Cyber Security Awareness Month,” and also urged actors to join the global campaign STOP.THINK.CONNECT as a simple step to coordinate actions against cyber crime. Ambassador Blackwell explained that the OAS Cyber Security Program is undertaking several initiatives with member states to develop their cyber capacities, including by helping them draft National Cyber Security Strategies; establishing and developing National Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs); facilitating capacity building on Critical Infrastructure Protection; and fostering an ecosystem of collaboration between private sector, civil society, and governments.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-474/14