United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia, is calling for a united approach among nations in combating the growing problem of cybercrime.

            Addressing a cybersecurity workshop for Latin American and Caribbean countries in Montego Bay recently, he noted that while the Internet has changed lives, ushered in new industries and provided for greater connectivity at lower costs, it has also brought cyber-related threats.

            He said that billions of devices are connected to the Internet, some with relatively little attention to security, while bad actors have become bigger and better equipped to launch cyberattacks and nations have been hard-pressed to keep up.

            He noted that banks have been spending billions of dollars on security devices to protect their operations and customers.

            “The global reach of the Internet allows individuals, criminal organisations and even nations to impact not just the region but the whole world. Because of the transnational nature of the issue, we must all work together to tackle these shared threats,” Ambassador Tapia said.

            “Internet growth has obviously brought numerous opportunities for the region [but]we have to be vigilant in our approach going forward,” he added.

            Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, agreed, citing a 2018 report on cybercrime, which showed that there has been an increase in credit and debit card fraud locally as well as identity theft and ransom-related emails.

            “These are only a few of the cases that emphasize the need for vigilance on the part of everyone and also the need for countries to have a robust cyberinfrastructure,” she said.

            Meanwhile, Ambassador Tapia said that the regional workshop represents a significant step in addressing cybercrime as national security and economic priority.

            He noted that the countries of the Americas have planned several events throughout 2020 that will “strengthen our mutual national security to advance the security of our citizens”.

            “A key element of these programmes is to help dismantle transnational criminals and terrorist organisations while curbing the trafficking of illicit goods and people,” he said.