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The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Trend Micro have jointly presented a new report ‘Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure in the Americas,’ which gathers the views of governments and security professionals from key industries, such as communications, finance, manufacturing, energy and security, on cyber vulnerability in the region.

The Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS, Neil Klopfenstein, called upon the political leaders of the region to remain vigilant to vulnerabilities that new technologies bring. “Governments of the Americas and worldwide must recognize the serious vulnerabilities inherent to critical infrastructure and the possibility of serious consequences if that infrastructure is not properly secured,” said Klopfenstein.

The Secretary of CICTE urged that the issue of cyber security should be present in all aspects related to countries’ critical infrastructure:

“From electrical networks and water treatment plants to oil exploration, supplies of fossil fuels and transportation, all these systems are vital to virtually all parts of society,” said Klopfenstein. “This report reinforces the need for continued strengthening of the protection of critical infrastructure in our member states, while highlighting the need to collaborate and share information in order to collectively address these issues and to promote a safe and resilient cyberspace for governments, business, and citizens in the region,” he said.

According to the report, 44 percent of respondents were aware of different types of destructive attacks, while 40 percent said they had experienced attempts to shutdown cybernetic systems. The report also presents specific cases related to cyber security in each OAS country and analysis of cyber attacks and their methodologies, while detailing the current cyber security measures and policies in place.

The report also highlights that there is still a lack of proactive cooperation between governments and private organizations in the Americas in this area, even though all member states agreed in a recent CICTE Declaration entitled ‘Protection of Critical Infrastructure from Emerging Threats’ that public-private partnership is one of the key elements for improving critical infrastructure and cyber security, and have made some efforts in this direction.

Read the report (PDF).

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