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IDB and OAS join efforts to promote better cybersecurity policies in Latin America and the Caribbean

Almost 600 million individuals were victims of a cybercrime in 2013

Over 100 participants from 35 countries are taking part in a workshop that kicked off today, to improve public policies to better prevent cybercrimes. The event was organized jointly by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS).

The aim of the workshop is for individuals responsible for cybersecurity to share their knowledge and experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean, with experts from countries with more experience in the field, such as Canada, Spain, the United States, Estonia and Israel.

The President of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno, and the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Amb. Albert Ramdin, inaugurated the workshop, together with the special adviser to Public Safety in Canada, Robert Gordon. In addition, officials from 27 Latin American and Caribbean countries are participating.

Globally, more than half a million web sites are under attack daily. Without cybersecurity policies, these attacks can inhibit socioeconomic progress. Latin America and the Caribbean has 250 million internet users who spend almost nine hours a month on social media, but only Trinidad and Tobago has a cybersecurity strategy, and a reduced group of countries is in the process of developing it.

“Cybercrime is a crime,” said Ana María Rodríguez, manager of the Department of Institutions for Development at the IDB. “It prevents citizens from taking advantage of the full potential of personal development and professional opportunities that a knowledge society is producing.”

In the three days of activities, officials will hold group sessions to identify the key issues in which the region needs support and define the main characteristics of the study The State of Cybersecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will be conducted over several months to better understand the situation in each country.

Last year there were 253 failures that let cyber thieves access personal data of 600 million persons, according to the Internet Security Threat Report 2013.

"The world has never been more interconnected and dependent on information technology, and as a result,our exposure to cyber-attacks has increased,” said OAS Amb. Ramdin. “In this context the OAS has increased its efforts to support Member States address their vulnerabilities by offering cyber security training and development programs. We hope this initiative will foster height ened collaboration and partnerships within the inter-american cyber security community."

All panelists agreed that in an interconnected world, with almost three billion internet users, cybersecurity is a global problem that demands solutions from all actors, from the public, private and academic sectors, where establishing coordination and cooperation mechanisms is key.

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