Rethinking Risk in Trinidad and Tobago

By Alana Harris
Marketing Officer
September 23, 2019
Rethinking Risk in Trinidad and Tobago main image

By the year 2020, millions of things – cars, coffee machines, light bulbs etc. – will be connected to the internet due to constant developments in the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects accessed through the Internet that exchange data to create an integrated, “smart” experience for users. These devices can do pretty much anything from boosting companies’ productivity, slashing overhead and reducing energy spending within a home, but we very rarely consider the impact of the IoT on cyber-security – there are now so many more devices susceptible to attacks. With the emergence of the IoT, hackers have found a backdoor to companies’ networks and hacking your smart devices is like taking candy from a baby for skilled hackers and cyber criminals. The weakest link defines the strength of your network security and this weak link is usually an IoT connected device. The notion of being hacked through your Nespresso machine or your smart lightbulb may seem crazy, but that coffee machine and light bulb are connected to your mobile phone, which is connected to the cloud that stores your company’s confidential files, personal client data and daily e-mail correspondence.

Just think about it.

The TSL Group has been one of very few entities in the Caribbean that have been actively working to effectively secure organizations’ network infrastructure and educate IT professionals on cyber-security trends, how to spot gaps in their networks and how to avoid falling victim to attacks that compromise their business. This year being our 40th Anniversary, we decided that we needed to do something big and impactful to get the message across and have organized an event this October in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce in Trinidad and Tobago which we have called Rethink Risk. Rethink Risk will explore cyber security trends and challenges faced by organizations and the line-up of international experts will share their knowledge on how Caribbean Organizations can avoid cyber casualties in this digital age. These speakers come from some of the largest tech corporations in the world and are sector leaders in their fields. Our keynote speakers for the day include Maya Horowitz, Director of Threat Intelligence and Research at Check Point Software Technologies from Tel Aviv, Israel. Formerly Head of Intelligence Department of the Israeli Defense Forces, Maya is responsible for leading the intelligence and Research team in finding new cyber campaigns and identifying the hackers behind them while leveraging her team’s analysis into threat prevention products at Check Point. We will also be hosting a powerful panel discussion where the incredibly dynamic and sharp panellists, all from different industries, discuss cyber-security as a neglected concept within Caribbean organizations and how they have integrated certain systems and strategies to avoid cyber-attacks in recent years. With 6 other dynamic tech and security experts to lead the day’s discussions, Rethink Risk promises to bring some of the brightest minds and most cutting-edge technology together for one day of learning, problem-solving and networking.

According to a joint study by the Center for Strategic Studies and McAfee published recently, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has become a new hub for cyber-attacks and crime at an estimated cost of around US$90 billion per year so you would think that we would have implemented sophisticated cyber-security systems by now. In recent years, some Caribbean governments and large private corporations have reached out to TSL after they had been targeted by cyber criminals and fallen victim to major attacks. For example, one government lost 1.3m files from a registry and one company almost lost its entire Bitcoin wallet to a hack. By the time you call for help, it’s usually too late, which is why TSL heavily emphasizes the implementation of a cyber-security strategy.

Understanding growing cyber vulnerabilities, Trinidad and Tobago has been leading the way in the fight against cybercrime in the Caribbean. In 2012, through the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for Cyber Security, Trinidad and Tobago published a national cyber security strategy with a two year mandate tasked with updating the country’s legislative cyber security framework which included creating national computer security incident response teams (CIRT), and creating a framework and mechanism for assessing cyber risk to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The information to be shared at our Rethink Risk event will highlight the harsh reality that being a small island does not exclude us from big cyber problems and will encourage both IT and non-IT professionals in every sector to take the next steps in securing their networks to avoid destructive consequences.