Cybersecurity laws are a matter of urgency for the Government.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley gave this assurance yesterday as he revealed that Attorney General Reginald Armour and Minister of Digital Transformation Hassel Bacchus were working swiftly to bring before the Cabinet, laws that will deter criminal elements from committing cyberattacks.
During a media conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's, yesterday, Rowley admitted that the Government needs to update and put new legislation in place to treat this issue.
His response came a little over a month after his personal information was part of a list of 1.2 million names leaked to the dark web following a cyberattack on the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT).
Rowley said, “We certainly need to strengthen our legislative framework. But now especially as we become more and more dependent on the digital age offerings, it is a matter of urgency for us to return to prioritising the legislation that will deal with the environment of 'cybermatics', if you will call it that. So that cybersecurity and a whole new suite of criminal offences need to be identified and codified and I expect that the Minister of Digital Transformation and the Attorney General will get that before the Cabinet as quickly as we can to ensure that we do have the deterrent. So yes, we need to have new, and where it exists, updated legislation to allow us to live comfortably in the digital age.”
However, he added in the event there are more cyberattacks, the State needs to be able to competently deal with it in such a way that the loss of confidence is minimised.
In response to his personal information being leaked, Rowley said he was advised that it was only his identification card number and his TSTT phone bill which is attached to his government phone.
He said he was very concerned that it may have also been his banking information, but that was not the case.
He said information about another member of his family was also leaked.
On October 9, TSTT received a major blow from international hackers Ramsomexx resulting in 6GB of its data including customers’ names, national identification numbers, phone numbers and addresses stolen and leaked.
Almost six weeks later, Lisa Agard was replaced by Kent Western as TSTT’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
51 per cent of TSTT is owned by the State.
Asked if he was consulted about Agard’s dismissal, Rowley said "no."
Asked if he was informed before it happened, he said, “I knew that there were attempts made to ensure that there was accountability and that the Government would get a clear and accurate report from the company as to what actually happened, that much I knew.”
In addition to TSTT, the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs (AGLA), PriceSmart and Courts were all victims of cyberattacks in recent months.