T&T has had over 200 cyberattacks since 2019

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T&T has had over 200 cyberattacks since 2019

Manager of the National Security Ministry’s Cybersecurity Incident Response Team Angus Smith has revealed that this country has been the victim of over 200 reported cyber attacks since 2019.

Smith made the revelation on Monday during a Special Joint Select Committee (JSC) hearing on the state’s response to recent cyberattacks.

Smith said there were 80 incidents reported from the public sector and around 100 or 105 reports from the private sector. He said there did not appear to be any specific organisations that were being repeatedly targeted.

“In 2023, we’ve had 22 public sector incidents and then 29 private sector incidents. These are incidents that have been reported to us,” he said.

Smith said that there is no requirement for private sector organisations to report to the National Security Ministry. He estimated that the response team is aware of between 80 per cent to 85 per cent of incidents – with the majority perpetrated by foreign actors.

However, the head of the T&T Police Service’s Cyber and Social Media Unit Amos Sylvester said there is a great degree of underreporting of cyber crimes to the TTPS.

The TTPS Head of Information Technology lamented the lack of legislation.

Sylvester said: “The only thing we have in this country is the Computer Misuse Act of 2000, which was 23 years ago. That Act never had sight of the kind of crimes we have now. Social media now and social media then are two different things, in terms of the landscape of technology.

“All that Act deals with is unauthorised access. It doesn’t go into phishing or web defacements, so if even people make the reports, there’s nothing for us to pursue. In relying on the legislation, we need to go to the foreign jurisdiction to get the information. Without having legislation on our side, we cannot actually use the Mutual Assistance Treaty which requires you to have your legislation in place. All the way around, we don’t have the requisite tools,” he said.