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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Costa Rican public institutions join efforts on cybersecurity policies

On Monday, June 27, the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT) announced that it would work jointly with the National Council of Rectors (CONARE) and state universities on cybersecurity issues.

Minister Carlos Enrique Alvarado Briceño and the rectors of the state universities held a meeting. They requested the possibility of collaborating with the strengthening of the Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRT-CR) through the knowledge and technological tools available to state universities to control cyber-attacks.

“We are very interested in working with state universities in this type of joint initiative because it demonstrates the capacity of Costa Rican human talent in transfer and innovation, in addition to working with civil society, which are undoubtedly a priority for the Government of the Republic,” said Carlos Enrique Alvarado, Minister of MICITT.

The Ministers and rectors are aware of the delicate situation the country is going through in terms of cybersecurity, so they agreed to entrust the Commission of Directors of Information and Communication Technologies with the analysis of Decree No. 37052-MICITT regarding the creation of the Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRT-CR) to define needs and possible contributions that state universities can make in the strengthening of the CSIRT-CR.

In response to the national emergency, a working team was formed with the members of the Commission of Directors of Information and Communication Technologies and together with representatives of the MICITT to develop a strategy in the search for solutions to the cybersecurity emergency facing the country and to express the full support of the state universities.

“The country can count on the public university for the attention of the different national interests. The function of the state universities is to collaborate with the country through their specialized human talent; for this reason, we join the efforts and cooperate with the MICITT to address the different national problems,” Rodrigo Arias Camacho, President of CONARE and rector of the Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED), said.

Moreover, the information collected between May 16 and May 27, 2022, yielded several vital conclusions about cybersecurity in public institutions. Some of the results are also worrying and call for immediate action.

The study pointed out that many institutions do not have specialized cybersecurity personnel to manage the systems. Also, they do not perform backups of the systems hosted by a third party, nor do they implement DNS protection and security systems.

Other problems found include not implementing two-factor authentication on their systems, not performing security audits on their servers, and not having configured a limit on concurrent access to avoid denial of service attacks.

Experts in the field say public institutions must invest in cybersecurity. Recent events in the country show the need for tools and protection against this type of attack. The government must take cybersecurity very seriously and minimize risks.

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