New response team key cybersecurity achievement
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (M.C.I.T.), this week launched the first National Computer Emergency Response Team, expected to boost the nation's cybersecurity.
The launching of the system also known as S.A.M.C.E.R.T. coincides with the Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON) 2021 virtual Annual General Meeting.
The organisation's Chief Executive Officer, Fualau Talatalaga Matafeo, said the Government over the years prioritised the development of its Information Technolgy landscape given the global proliferation of the internet on which Samoa did not want to leave behind.
“And with this drive in the IT Sector, the Government endorsed the establishment of S.A.M.C.E.R.T., recognising the importance of Cybersecurity and Cyber Safety practices, given that no one nation is immune from the threats of cybersecurity. This led to the development of Samoa’s first ever National Cybersecurity Strategy in 2016," Fualau said.
"The implementation of this strategic document as a starting point, led to the forging of partnerships between key agencies in the I.T. sector, with the main goal of promoting and raising awareness in an effort to build a strong and secure cyber space for our small and vulnerable island nation.
“This work, not only involved building resilient critical infrastructure and digital platforms, but also on strengthening the capacity of the workforce to maintain and sustain the security of emerging digital technologies and services.
“These developments were made possible with continued support and collaboration from regional and international affiliations and development partners.”
In addition to support from the international community the Samoa Information Technology Association (S.I.T.A.) was established in 2019.
“The establishment of S.I.T.A. brought together IT experts from across Government and the Private Sector, ultimately strengthening Samoa’s capacity, to deliver training and awareness campaigns across the country, amongst all other developmental work and contributions to the Sector," Fualau said.
“The [information and communications technology] sector also continues to work collaboratively with the Law Enforcement Sector as work centered around cybercrimes and digital forensics. Samoa, through the assistance provided by the US Embassy in Samoa, facilitated a cybersecurity forensic training, conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“In addition to this, Samoa was invited, alongside its neighboring Pacific countries, to be part of the Cyber Safety Pasifika, an initiative implemented by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), focusing on upskilling the police force in managing cybercrime investigations.
“Other notable developments saw the recent launching of the Samoan language Get Safe Online website, through the assistance of the British GetSafe Online Organisation, who have also kindly provided capacity building for our local cybersecurity ambassadors.
"Last, but most certainly not the least, Samoa takes pride in being a founding member of the Pacific Cybersecurity Operational Network. The Network has provided the forum and avenue for members in the Region, to share information that will assist in our collaborative cybersecurity efforts and build our cybersecurity capacities, so as to enable our respective Countries to operate in more dynamic cybersafe environment.
Fualau said Samoa has met this crucial pillar of its National Cybersecurity Programme, with the recognising of the National Computer Emergency Response Team.
“With the existence of three submarine cables, stregnthenings Samoa’s connectivity with the rest of the world, it is in the Government’s best interest to protect our security, and ensure Samoa is a safe place to reside, work, and do business,"
"As we all understand, no one Government can work in isolation, hence the importance of our collaborative efforts in combating threats to our shores," the C.E.O. said.
“Protecting the security of our respective nations remain an ongoing responsibility – it will always be a work in progress. With today’s recognition of S.A.M.C.E.R.T. in operation, Samoa is better prepared, better equipped, better informed, better connected, and ultimately more resilient.”