Chamber queries members on impact of servers hack at Registrar General Dept.

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) has asked its membership for their input on the effects the hacking of the Registrar General Department’s servers has had on their businesses, BCCEC Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Beckles told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that it has presented some setbacks for businesses.

Beckles said while there has been a definite interruption to businesses, there has not been a great outcry given that the Registrar General’s Department has been working to fix the issue.

He added that the hack comes at a time when Bahamians are much more reliant on digital services.

“We have not heard it to the magnitude that people might believe because obviously they are making other arrangements to process these applications,” said Beckles.

“Is it a setback? By all means. Is it a bit of an interruption? Definitely. And even moreso now that we have to rely on digital platforms to get things done, but I know they are working diligently to try to fix it.

“To the extent that it is impacting everyday business, I don’t think there is anything you and I can do that the registrar’s office doesn’t touch, but we actually just sent out a feeler on Friday asking for feedback and recommendations to determine how deep the impact is, so we can get a sense of what needs to happen.

“There are a couple of people who have indicated that, obviously, it is critical that that service is restored and much more secure than it was.”

The Office of the Attorney General revealed at the beginning of the month that the Registrar General Department’s business registration platform was hacked and stolen information, which is available to the public for a fee, was published.

“We regret to confirm that sometime during the month of January 2020, criminal elements associated with a group called Distributed Denial of Secrets unlawfully hacked into the AS400 server housing the registrar general’s filings information – which is thereafter transferred to the e-services business registration system and stole the information therein housed,” the attorney general’s office revealed in a press release.

“The said information has recently been published and widely distributed. These acts are breaches of the Data Protection Act and the Penal Code.”

It is understood the the servers were hacked again since January.

Beckles said these hacks are simply what businesses and governments have to contend with while living in the digital age.

“We live in an extraordinarily aggressive world now that everything has gone to the internet and on all of these digital platforms, the good guys are doing their best to keep things safe and the bad guys are doing their best to make it hard,” he said.

Beckles said the legal profession has been hit hardest by the hacks as they interact much more with the Registrar General Department than most other businesses.

According to Beckles, there has been a concerted effort to try and fix the issue, “because really, it has become a national issue”.

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