A report by Colombia’s Chamber of Communications lays out several ways the Andean nation — among the top five Latin American countries in terms of Internet users — can better combat cyber crime.
Colombia has seen some prominent cyber security breaches in the past few years, incuding attacks by hacker group Anonymous against official government web sites and social media pages, and the interception of e-mails related to the government’s current peace talks with rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
A new report released by Colombia’s Chamber of Communications and non-profit policy research center Fedesarrollo offers several recommendations for how the country’s cyber security policy can move forward:
1) Create a national center responsible for training government bodies in charge of cyber security. Colombia relies on a special command within the police, a joint unit within the military, and an agency run by the ministries of Defense, Justice, and Information Technologies to deal with cyber security issues. The report argues that Colombia needs a centralized agency that not would not only help these various bodies coordinate better, but would also provide a space for the private sector, academia and think-tanks to share training and knowledge on cyber crime.
2) Establish prosecution teams that specialize in investigating cyber crime. This is based on a recommendation offered by the Organization of American States (OAS) to several Latin American countries.
3) Increase international cooperation to fight cyber crime. This includes joining international cyber security treaties like the Budapest Convention, and becoming more involved with the global network of expert computer emergency response teams.
InSight Crime Analysis
Probably one of the biggest cyber security problems Colombia will face in the coming years is bulking up security around its online banking sector — according to the Chamber of Communications report, 35 percent of all banking operations are now performed via the Internet in Colombia. Earlier this year, Colombian authorities arrested a group of hackers accused of stealing the financial information of some 15,000 people, along with $5.2 million from various bank accounts. As recommended by the report, establishing special prosecution teams could go a long way in addressing this particular threat.
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According to police statistics cited in the report, Colombian police made 422 arrests related to cyber crime in 2013, a 67 percent increase from arrests made in 2011.