Bahamian Government partners with International Telecommunication Union to strengthen cybersecurity

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By STEM Caribbean | Posted on November 8, 2020

The Government of The Bahamas partners with International Telecommunication Union on National Cybersecurity Project

The Bahamian Government has collaborated with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to execute a National Cybersecurity Project. This venture is expected to evaluate cybersecurity in The Bahamas and improve the country’s capabilities.   

The ITU is a United Nations agency that focuses on information and communication technologies (ICTs). In the most recent published Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) by the agency, The Bahamas ranks 133 out of 193 countries around the world in cybersecurity.  With the partnership, the Bahamian Government aims to establish a central coordination point of contact to tackle the country’s cybersecurity shortcomings.   

According to the Department of Transformation and Digitization (DTD), this National Computer Incident Response Team (BS- CIRT) “will identify, defend, manage, and respond to cyber threats.” The DTD also noted that presently, addressing cybercrime is limited to the resources available in the Royal Bahamas Police Force.  

However, the agency further noted that the National Cybersecurity Project aims to improve the human expertise on cybersecurity in The Bahamas.   

“There will be significant focus on national awareness training programs, improvements in cybersecurity procedures, and defending and protecting infrastructures and government agencies,” the DTD added.  

Senator J. Kwasi Thompson, who’s responsible for the Digital Transformation Unit, said that the project is critical as The Bahamas intends to digitize more than 200 government services over the next five years.   

“The Government of The Bahamas is engaged in the digitization of more than 200 government services over the next five years. Since the passage of Hurricane Dorian and in our current reality of providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic, Government Agencies and the private sector entities are conducting more business transactions over the Internet. It is therefore important to minimize the risks associated with operating business online,” Senator Thompson stated.  

“The implementation of this National Cybersecurity Project is critical to the country’s national digitization program. Once implemented, the National CIRT will help identify, protect, and defend against cyber-attacks. The project is very comprehensive and includes building a national strategy, updating our cyber laws, increasing and training of staff, and national education on cyber security. This will be one of the most significant steps we have taken to defend our country from cyber-attacks,” he added.  

The DTD stated that “Once established, the CIRTs or CERTs (Cybersecurity Emergency Response Team) will protect, detect, respond and recover, and assist The Bahamas in identifying and protecting the country’s critical ICT infrastructure and data.”  

“The National CIRT will also be ready to respond to attacks targeting the national critical information infrastructure and will also act as an advisor to The Government on all cybersecurity matters,” the government department added.   

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