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House: Cybercrime threat to Bermuda

Wayne Caines (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda is under threat from major cybersecurity breaches, the minister of national security said this morning.

Wayne Caines said that cybersecurity was a “national priority”.

He explained: “Bermuda organisations and residents face cybersecurity risks on a daily basis.”

Mr Caines said incidents “not only have the potential to interrupt services and damage our systems, they can also damage our reputation and economy”.

Mr Caines said cybersecurity at its basic level was about prevention of information theft from individuals and organisations.

He said: “This information can be customer data, credit card information, volunteer files, company files, employee data or any other information that may be held in or flowing through electronic systems and computing devices.”

Mr Caines added it also meant protection against disruption to business.

He was speaking in the wake of the Paradise Papers revelations on offshore finance, which included millions of documents stolen from Bermuda-founded law firm Appleby.

Mr Caines said: “This could be through denying access to the internet, locking data and holding it for ransom, wiping hard drives, erasing back-ups, stealing information, interfering with mechanical processes or other practices that rely on technology.”

The minister said Government had implemented an information systems risk management programme “to ensure our security practices meet internationally recognised standards”.

He added a cybersecurity working group was also being developed.

Mr Caines said: “This week has reinforced the need to continue to raise awareness across Government and throughout the community that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

“The threats are constantly evolving and cybercriminals use increasingly sophisticated methods and tools to exploit their targets.

“We must continue to provide and expand consistent messaging on cybersecurity to our students, seniors, staff and organisations on how to remain safe and secure in this digital age.

“We must continue to adopt and nurture an inclusive, collaborative culture concerning cybersecurity in the jurisdiction between the Government, the business community and the public to ensure that relevant and necessary information and support are available.”

Mr Caines said that regular updates to risk management and security practices were needed to survive constant attacks.

He added: “While I can say that both the government and Bermuda-based organisations are serious about cybersecurity, are thorough in our practices and are actively working to evolve the jurisdiction’s cybersecurity culture, we should not stop there.

“The cybercriminals do not.”

• To read Mr Caines’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”