We are constantly reminded of the common breaches in security that seem to occur each day. The armed robberies, the housebreakings, the shoplifting and vehicle theft are all very popular. We strive to secure ourselves against the aforementioned breaches, as they are for many of us, some of the worst crimes imaginable, for they also lead to loss of lives.
There are many levels of criminality and they all thrive on the gaps and glitches in our security. Surely the more successful people are often the victims of the more sophisticated crimes. These crimes usually go undetected for some time as they tend to resemble error. Cybercrime is nowadays the most famous among sophisticated crimes. It has lurked in the shadows of our computer screens but is now stealing our personal information before our very eyes.
This information includes intellectual property, financial data, and any other kind of information which causes dire consequences if they are exposed, or accessed by online predators. Cybercrime has escalated so quickly in recent times and is considered to overtake terrorism because of the severity of damage that it causes. Intelligence officials from the United States have reported since March 2013 that cyber attacks and digital spying are rapidly rising and are labelled as a form of terrorism.
Every one of us who uses credit cards to make online purchases, practice online banking, or conduct financial transactions online are at risk. Medical organizations, financial institutions, government agencies and businesses are all at risk. Businesses are encouraged to practice the best security measures in order to counter cyber attacks. Breaches in cybersecurity lead to major problems for customers, which may permanently destroy their trust which companies need in order to survive.
The challenge for cybersecurity in St. Lucia is not yet considered to be a critical one, but it does not mean that our institutions are immune to the attacks which have caused severe damage to many companies and organizations worldwide. There were a number of major security breaches which occurred last year which affected several millions of people. Facebook was among the statistics with an estimated 87 million victims. Private messages and political beliefs of its users were exposed. Between August 14th and September 18th of 2018, Newegg, an online retailer, was also a target of cyber crime with an estimated 50 million victims. In the case of Newegg, credit card information of customers was accessed by the cyber criminals, Cybergang Magecart.
Many other companies have fallen victim to gaps in their security. There is, of course, the opinion that for every good kind of security, there is a security hack. Experts argue that there is a security hack for every form of security that is not constantly and adequately upgraded. Companies around the world are urged to make security enhancement an ongoing exercise, as this is vital to protect the sensitive information of people.
On March 5th 2019, the Phoenix International Programme invited eighteen law enforcement leaders from twelve countries around the world for a four-day event at Orchard Hotel in Singapore. The purpose of this event was to discuss the emerging global security challenges. Most of the discussion was focused on cybercrime, particularly in the healthcare industry. It was stressed that organisations which contain personal data should use all the necessary resources to maintain their defence systems.
Local businesses should take all the necessary precautions to protect their data, and not wait until they are victims of cyber attacks. Individuals are also cautioned to be more mindful of the information they share online. Remember that there are all kinds of security breaches. Mobile security is also famous for being hacked. The pictures and videos we send across networks to other devices can be hacked and sold to online companies for profit. Security does not always guarantee happiness but it gives us all some peace of mind. We must never delay securing our peace of mind.