Hacks increased by 700% in Argentina and the government accelerated the command of cybersecurity

Almost half of Argentine companies suffered cyber attacks in the last three years
14 June, 2019
They believe that the region is very exposed to computer attacks
14 June, 2019

Hacks increased by 700% in Argentina and the government accelerated the command of cybersecurity

The numbers are chilling and aroused an alert in the government: according to official data, between 2016 and 2017 the hacks detected and processed in Argentina increased by 700%.

With this diagnosis, which advances on all levels of the State and the private sector, President Mauricio Macri took the decision to give greater speed and funds to the megaproject for the creation of a cybersecurity command in connection with the cyber defense shield of the orbit military.

A reserved paper of the Ministry of Modernization to which Infobae agreed reveals in detail the increase in hacking in Argentina: in 2015, 2,252 were registered; in 2016 a total of 422,672 and last year the figure grew 3,131,268 computer incidents registered both in the State and in companies. But there are many more, since these are hardly those that could be warned or denounced.

"Cyber warfare crosses us all in the State and is becoming increasingly dangerous because in the immediate term it can have an impact on people's lives, for example with the fall of a power plant system or with the attack on a central bank" , graficó an official of the Pink House dedicated to the subject.

According to the North American company Fortinet that is dedicated to creating cybernetic firewall programs around the world, in Latin America there was a growing interest of cybercriminals in relation to the rest of the world, being Argentina, Brazil and Mexico the countries with the most attacks detected per year in the entire region with average values close to 10 attacks detected per year per company / organization.

Thus, Fortinet executives told Infobae that "companies in Argentina report significantly more attacks from all classes than in other countries in the region. SQL injection attacks are reported more than in any other country and are second in frequency after phishing, the most common type of attack. "

In terms of investment in cybersecurity, Argentina is above the average for Latin America, according to Fortinet data. The cybersecurity investment market in Argentina is 109 million dollars and has grown by 8% in 2017 compared to the previous year. But it still doesn't seem to be enough investment. While 80% of those interviewed in a study conducted by Fortinet report that they invest 20% or less of their security technology budget, about 40% have increased their cybersecurity investments in the last year.

Mario Montoto, director of the DEF magazine, mentioned in Infobae parafaseando to Leon Panetta, the former head of the CIA of Obama, that the cyber war is "the next Pearl Harbor" that we face.
In addition, Montoto stressed that before a threatening scenario requires the maximum attention of the civil authorities and the full availability of the heads of the Ministry of Defense, as well as the involvement of the high command of the Armed Forces and other state agencies.

During Kirchnerism the question was underestimated. There were only failed attempts to build a cyber defense superstructure that did not have much reach, let alone adequate budget.

The management of Macri understood in 2016 that this was an important issue. But since last year and with the numbers of cyber attacks in hand accelerated the entire process to put together a cyber defense scheme for the military area and another cybersecurity structure that will be commanded by the Minister of Modernization Andrés Ibarra and will have under its orbit the Federal Intelligence Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Security and Justice.

What was done so far from the government and what is sought to enhance?

In the reserved paper of the Ministry of Modernization that accessed this medium, it is highlighted that beyond the Cybersecurity Committee approved by decree 577/2017, work began on a national strategy with the collaboration of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the OAS.
The strategy designed towards the present and the immediate future includes the following axes:

Critical infrastructures: to advance the protection of national critical infrastructures, together with personnel from the Ministries of Defense and Security and the Sadosky Foundation, a "high level of protection" action plan was put together. Thus, a first identification of the regulatory agencies in the national sphere was carried out and the experiences of more advanced countries in the matter, such as the US, Israel and the European Union, were analyzed.

Training: there is a technical training program to stop cyber attacks in the National Public Administration as well as in Provinces and Municipalities.

National Program of Critical Infrastructures: according to the Modernization paper up to now there were 6 entities that adhered to this plan and several other organizations are in process, reaching a total of 94 members between public organizations and private companies.

Security Incident Management: The National CERT processed events and detected and collaborated in the resolution of security incidents.

Vulnerability Scanning: the security conditions of 470 WEB sites of public and private organizations were analyzed, finding and alerting about vulnerabilities.

Assistance to other agencies: the cybersecurity committee developed a plan of applicable recommendations to optimize the security of the ARSAT Datacenter and the implementation of the Datacenter of the Ministry of Modernization on Peru Street.

Judicial causes: there was an exchange of information with the judges who carry out legal cases of cyber attack.

Cellular: a special government program is underway to generate a cybernetic shield for computer security in the mobile communications of officials. This is a system similar to the one used by Brazil where officials have an encrypted messaging scheme.

All this work of the cybersecurity command is being articulated with the provincial governments. For this, the governors were asked to respond to a survey questionnaire and to develop a General Form for Security Areas.

In addition, a scanning platform is currently being launched; a collaborative pentesting framework; a GIS system for mapping critical infrastructures; a threat detection network; a manual of good practices for safe development with a methodology for Safety Standards.

From the Foreign Ministry they assured Infobae that there have already been advisory works in cyber attacks from the United States, Croatia, Italy, South Korea, Chile, the European Union and Great Britain.

In parallel to all this, the Ministry of Defense accelerated the processes to give greater consistency to the Cyber Defense Commitee.
"Cyber attacks are current wars and you have to act accordingly. We have to move quickly to avoid vulnerabilities, "an aide to Minister Oscar Aguad told Infobae.

In this "fast acting" that Defense poses, there is an imminent challenge that Argentina has in terms of cyber defense: the summit of presidents of the G20 to be held in November in Buenos Aires and the 30 previous meetings of ministers and secretaries of state.

For this, the Ministry of Defense launched a unified cyber defense command coordinated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
According to qualified sources of the Ministry of Defense, this plan contemplates the strong investment made in Firewall equipment and programs. At the same time, it is thought to add trained personnel not only from the defense area but also from the private sector.

The task carried out by this cyber defense command is the protection of sensitive military units, vulnerable sites such as nuclear or hydroelectric plants and the creation of an entire system designed to interact with the Ministry of Modernization, the AFI and Security.

For the G20 summit, the purchase of three INVAP radars will be arranged in strategic locations in Buenos Aires in connection with a Navy multi-purpose radar ship that was used in 2016 when Obama visited Argentina.


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