Paray: Urgent need to protect digital future after NIBTT cyber-attack

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Rushton Paray –

MEMBER of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray is calling for urgent action against the numerous cyber security breaches taking place.

The National Insurance Board of T&T (NIBTT) is the latest victim of a cyber-attack. NIBTT has closed all of its all its offices with an undertaking to resume operations on a phased basis in January 2024.

In a statement, Paray said, “Considering the recent and alarming cyber breaches within our state-managed digital infrastructure, it is imperative that the Rowley administration takes immediate and decisive action.

“The occurrence of the third major cyber breach is a clear indication of the urgent need for heightened cybersecurity measures and public awareness.

In October, the security of the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) was breached, and customers data dumped on the dark web.

Before that, Price Smart was also hacked and recently, the Blue Waters company.

As a parliamentarian, with a focus on digital transformation, Paray said, “I have consistently highlighted the critical importance of cybersecurity in our increasingly digital world. The recent breaches are not just isolated incidents, they are a clarion call for a comprehensive strategy to protect our national digital assets and the personal information of our citizens.

“The Rowley administration must now prioritise the development and implementation of a robust public awareness campaign on cybersecurity starting with state sector employees with access to the state digital networks.”

He suggested that this campaign should not only inform but also empower citizens to recognise and protect themselves against the myriad of digital threats that are prevalent in today’s interconnected world.

“Educating the public is a crucial step in mitigating these risks. An informed citizenry is less vulnerable to the tactics of cybercriminals, thereby reducing the overall impact of cyber crime on our society.

“Furthermore, public awareness can lead to greater vigilance and reporting of cyber threats, aiding in the disruption of malicious activities.”

Paray said there are exemplary models of public cybersecurity awareness campaigns across the globe which offers valuable insights and can be adapted to TT’s unique digital landscape.

He identified Singapore’s ‘Cyber Tips 4 You’ initiative and the European Union’s cybersecurity month, which demonstrates the effectiveness of educating the public on digital threats and safety measures.

“The Rowley administration must act swiftly to implement a national cybersecurity awareness campaign. Such a campaign is not merely a reactive measure but a fundamental component of a proactive strategy to safeguard our nation’s digital infrastructure and the privacy of our citizens.

“The urgency of this situation cannot be overstated. We must act now to prevent further breaches and to establish TT as a leader in digital security and education within the Caribbean.

“The time for complacency has passed, we must commit to protecting our digital future.”