CERT Vanuatu (CERT VU), acting on behalf of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) to collaborate on cybersecurity and cybercrime responses in the country at the VANSEC house.
CERT VU, an entity currently established as a unit within the OGCIO to help address Cybersecurity issues in Vanuatu is confident in maintaining its stand regarding such issues effectively within the country.
Due to the nature of the emerging cyber threats, attacks, or cybercrime incidents which are borderless in its nature, CERTVU and VPF have desired to form a strategic collaboration, so that both organizations can share information and collaborate in matters pertaining to those threats. With this, both parties have common goals in establishing and strengthening collaborative efforts related to cybersecurity, incident management, emergency response, cybercrime and risk management.
The Deputy Chief Information Officer to the OGCIO, John Jack, said in regards to the current State of Emergency signed by the Head of State on the 26th of March 2020, a few directives were given by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) purposely regarding social media.
He said at first, CERT VU found difficulties in implementing those directives, especially concerning social media, because one thing that needs to be in place so that CERT VU can carry out its roles effectively, is to have a legislation in place for cybersecurity and cybercrime.
“We do have a drafted cybercrime bill which has not been passed yet in parliament, therefore it is a challenge for CERT VU to be operational, in terms of enforcement, to ensure the public is aware of what CERT VU is doing,” he said.
“The current framework does not give us the full rights in carrying out our responsibilities, but it does give us a partner, we can work with in exchanging information, and the VPF as a legal entity can take up the issues with whatever legal processes that we need to follow, and to carry some of the procedures that we have under our law in Vanuatu.
“Information that are seen as a threat in the community, CERT VU does not have the legal mandate to take that upfront and start laying charges but with this MOU signed, we can exchange information, so the VPF can later take the matter in involving any legal procedures necessary under our laws.
“Secondly, part of this MOU involves capacity building and it comes in many ways. Regarding threats that online users face online, under the MOU, in collaborative with the VPF, we can analyze the threat. With the resources, we have within CERT VU, we believe we can assist the VPF in looking at the threats within Vanuatu.
“These are some of things we will be working with from now on. We acknowledged the VPF also for implementing their Cyber Pacific programs within communities and schools regarding Cybersecurity as well.”
Mr Jack mentioned CERT VU will also be looking at the consistencies of the laws they have, and that is by looking at several laws, regulations and policies, and working with VPF to ensure that operations are in line with these laws. He said it is to ensure that we put in effect to the laws dealing with cybersecurity and cybercrime.
CERT VU is also appealing to other entities interested in addressing cybercrime and cybersecurity within their working environments to approach CERT VU so they can assist with any concerns they have.
Currently there are a lot of issues popping up on the internet. Mr Jack said one is the 5G controversy and the COVID-19 outbreak. He said CERT VU is here for the people of Vanuatu.
He said anyone having concerns regarding internet, in general, should contact CERT VU via email, social media, and website, in order for the staff to help them out.
CERT VU believes with the concerns anyone has, it will not only benefit oneself but will also ensure other entities to consider addressing cybersecurity and crimes in Vanuatu, as working with partners is vital for the CERT VU team who are committed to meeting the needs of concerned citizens and entities.