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Govt looking to protect online platforms from hacking

Following a recent hack of the Registrar General Department’s system, Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday that the government is looking to improve its information technology security, but noted that it is a difficult task.

According to the Office of the Attorney General, the department’s business registration platform was hacked and the stolen information, which is available to the public for a fee, was recently published.

“We are in a position where we have to acknowledge that the world is a dangerous place,” Bethel said as he led off debate on the 2020/2021 budget in the Senate.

“We do what we think is required today and the technology we use today is probably obsolete in three months as soon as we’ve implemented it.

“And hackers are all over the place. They are hacking anything. They hacked the U.S. social security system as well. So, we have to double our efforts. We have to do more and we have to keep doing more.”

Bethel said the preliminary police report indicates that the hack began sometime between the end of October and February.

He said the government is considering the use of different servers and blockchain technology to minimize the risks.

“No matter what we do today, we are going to have to look at it tomorrow,” he said.

“That’s just how rapidly this thing goes. I’d like to look at blockchain, different servers for different functions, so that if someone gets access to one part of the registry on one platform where there’s a separate server, or in a blockchain and someone is able to hack in, they will only have access to that small portion.”

“Whatever we do, bear in mind it’s like putting water in your hand and trying to hold it. Challenge anyone to try and hold water in the palm of their hands. It cannot do. And this is the problem in terms of dealing with hackers. Almost no matter what you do, they will find their way in.”

Bethel said Cabinet has already approved a contract for a new corporate management e-portal.

“We are looking to bring in a proven provider who has provided in a sister Caribbean region a very comprehensive corporate management e-portal [system]. A version of that [system] was approved by Cabinet earlier this year,” he said.

“So, we will be moving over the next months to fund the contract and to bring the provider in and to bring in a corporate filing and management software package accessible to the industry, which will capture all of the historic companies, which are not captured by the present system that we met in place.

“And because we are going to be doing this, we have to make sure that it is buttressed by the highest quality of digital protection. So, we have to seriously look at that issue going forward.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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