This week, bankers and banking security experts from the U.S. and Latin America will gather at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami for one of the largest annual bank security conferences for senior Latin American bankers. CELAES 2011, the 26th Annual Conference of Banking Safety takes place September 15-16.
Given that Latin America has one of the highest rates of users who access banking online through computers and mobile technology, bankers have plenty of reason to stay on top of the latest cyber threats and security measures.
The Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) and the Federation of Latin American Banks (La Federación Latinoamericana de Bancos - FELABAN) are hosting this unique joint Spanish/English conference. Attendees can participate in a variety of educational sessions on best practices for banking security, as well as gain access to vendors offering the latest security hardware, software cloud computing strategies for the banking sector.
A large portion of this year's conference is devoted to preventing data breaches through security management of data, cloud services, electronic fraud detection and risk mitigation.
What makes Latin America's challenges relevant is that the tactics developed by the cyber criminals that thrive there can be used on any financial system in the world. Conferences like the CELAES 2011 conference helps educate and present solutions to banking executives in Latin America and help close the doors on cyber criminals.
Cyber crime in Latin America's financial industry remains a serious concern for a variety of reasons. The developing legal systems in many Latin American countries are adding laws to combat cyber crime, but enforcement is lacking. This is further compounded by the absence of the "personal privacy" notion within many of the governing entities in some Latin American countries. Another issue for the Latin American financial sector, according to Frost & Sullivan, is that 70% of people making online transactions believe that the bank or service provider is responsible for fraud and protecting their online security.
Crime organizations and cartels present in Latin America have contributed to or funded cybercrime networks, making Latin America a haven for illegal electronic activity. Not only are these organizations stealing money and account information through online phishing/fraud, Bloomberg reports that one Mexican cartel is openly selling their own pirated versions of Microsoft products. Sold for a fraction of the retail cost, who knows what Trojans and back doors are included as "features."
The ESET Trends and monthly Threat Reports calculate that 1 in 20 computers in Latin America are infected and the spread of malware is gaining speed as USB devices and now gaming consoles account for 40% of malware propagation. The growing number of infected machines gives the attackers a strong network of resources for both direct and indirect attacks on the financial sector.
The same PCI Data Security Standards required for financial institutions in North America are making an impact in Latin America. Financial institutions are realizing that they are less susceptible to a breach during a cyber attack when they've spent the time and resources to implement even a few of the PCI DSS requirements like network monitoring, complex passwords and data encryption of account and payment information (PCI DSS requirements now apply to International payment processing).
During the conference Linoma Software's partner Green Light Technology, a conference sponsor and a respected solutions provider for the Latin American banking industry, will present Crypto Complete for database encryption and the GoAnywhere secure managed file transfer solutions. Both products protect and encrypt sensitive data, reduce access to primary systems, provide data workflow automation and detailed audit features.
Thanks to the efforts of FIBA, FELABAN and cooperation among international agencies, Latin American banking and finance representatives have the opportunity to fight back against cyber criminals, and the lessons learned will benefit all of us.