ANSA McAL Group CEO, Anthony Sabga III said yesterday that countries in the region, including T&T, should consider making their companies and governments “hard targets” for hackers, by passing legislation outlawing the payment of ransoms for cyberbreaches.
Sabga was responding to a general question about the group’s cyber defences at an investors’ briefing following the release of ANSA McAL’s financial results for the period ending September 30, 2023.
Sabga said that in making life difficult for the hackers, there were some opportunities that, as a region and/or as a nation should be considered.
“Were we to have national legislation passed that it was illegal for any company to pay a cybersecurity ransom, that would permeate very quickly into the world of these hackers. They would then realise the difficulty of them getting a reward for the hacks,” said the ANSA McAL CEO.
He added that hackers did not conduct data breaches for fun, but with the expectation of getting paid.
Outlawing the payment of cyber ransoms would help substantially, he said, but “it’s not going to take away the risk and it is not going to prevent the need to put in place the necessary security and defences. It may turn hackers away to other jurisdictions where they may find more favourable hunting grounds.”
On the issue of legislation, Sabga was asked whether legislation should be put in place to require that the public be informed when companies or government departments have their data defences breached.
He said while ANSA McAL’s skills and capacities are in the sphere of offering customers products and services in fulfilment of better choices for a better world, legislation is not something the group has expertise in.
“I can say though that in other parts of the world, there are very strong data protection laws, which would instruct what an organisation like ours has already done.
Commenting on the robustness of the ANSA McAL group’s cyber defences, Sabga said: “Having had the unfortunate benefit of being on the receiving end, and managing, what could have been a very material hack back in 2020, this group embarked on a very substantial campaign and material investment in Project ShieldsUp.”
He said ANSA McAL has made a substantial investment in cybersecurity infrastructure, oversight, technology and training to maintain the group’s defences against hackers.
In the group’s unaudited financial statement for period from January 1 to September 30, 2023, ANSA McAL reported that its revenue increased by 9.62 per cent to $5.17 billion, up from $4.71 billion for the same period in 2022.
The group reported a profit after tax of $323.78 million, a sizeable jump from the $13.73 million for the same period in 2022.