SUVA – Cybersecurity experts from the United States Department of Homeland Security and Department of State discussed the latest trends, tips, tools, and dangers with Pacific Island information technology professionals in government and the private sector during a virtual presentation on October 21.
The Cybersecurity First -Fundamentals, Best Practices, and Ransomware Trends presentation brought together experts on the frontlines in the fight against malicious actors in cyberspace. More than fifty people participated from Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Kiribati, representing government and the private sector.
“The presentation builds on the two-day summit the White House National Security Council organized with 30 nations between October 13 – 14 with the goal of accelerating cooperation to counter ransomware gangs and other bad actors in cyberspace,” said United States Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu Elise Tokumasu de Silva. The presentation was part of a series of events to promote Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.
“Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across the world, ensuring that all netizens have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online,” the Chargé continued. This year the Embassy also hosted a virtual presentation on free opensource cybersecurity software and a four-day virtual training session on the latest hacking techniques from North Korea.
Embassy Suva’s Information Systems Security Officer Melissa Belleman discussed how some of the techniques the embassy uses in its own cybersecurity posture can be adopted by other organizations. “Because COVID has forced so many organizations to enable employees to telework, securing home equipment, mobile devices, and educating staff on best practices is paramount,” she said.
Joseph Oregón, Chief of Cybersecurity for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Region 9, which covers Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, and the Northern Mariana Islands discussed ways to strengthen the security and resilience of critical infrastructure in the Pacific region.
“Defending and protecting critical infrastructure from cyberattacks requires all of us to work collaboratively,” said Oregón. “We at CISA look forward to continuing to foster our relationships with our private and public sector Pacific Island partners and to working together to enhance cyber threat information sharing, stop cyber incidents before they occur, and quickly recover when an incident occurs.”
Mr. Oregón and his Region 9 team work to strengthen information sharing capabilities, discussed the latest ransomware trends and mitigation efforts.
“Unfortunately, ransomware attacks seem to be an almost daily occurrence,” Oregón said. “By performing some basic cyber hygiene, such as using strong passwords, not clicking on unknown links, updating software, installing patches, and running up-to-date antivirus software, we can thwart these threats.”
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the United States’ risk advisor, working with partners to defend against today’s threats and collaborating with industry to build more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future. CISA is at the heart of mobilizing a collective defense to understand and manage risk to critical infrastructure. For more information: https://www.cisa.gov/