The Pacific economies have seen a rapid increase in connectivity in the last decade, and with it come heightened concerns over cybercrime, security, and safety issues.
CERT Tonga is the national Computer Emergency Response Team of Tonga (part of MEIDECC) to provide advice and support on cyber threats and vulnerabilities to the owners and operators of infrastructure, and other systems of national interest.
Formed in 2016, CERT Tonga has become a trusted source of information and advice on cybersecurity issues and is critical for the safety of cyber users in the island economy, regularly addressing the cyber challenges faced by various sectors.
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From 15 to 19 February 2021, CERT Tonga conducted a five-day awareness program on Vava’u — part of a broader campaign — bringing together representatives from the private sector, relevant Tongan ministries, police, schools, town officers, district officers, and youth.
The program sought to inform stakeholders of cyber incidents occurring in Tonga, and to share understanding of ways to mitigate risk, highlighting the functions and services of CERT Tonga.
Community and interoperability were also a focus. How official bodies handle public complaints and issues, as well as the role of church councils in mitigating risk and public support, were also on the agenda.
Broad awareness of the various bills and legislation related to cyber and online activities, and each agency’s role in addressing cyber challenges, was a high priority throughout.
Read: Lessons from establishing a national CERT
Director of CERT Tonga, Mr Siosaia Vaipuna said, “Malicious activities carried out over the Internet are not restricted to only those that threaten the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems and information — there is also abuse, misinformation, and other traditional crimes that are conducted through the use of technology and the Internet.”
CERT Tonga recently attained full department status, reflecting the economy’s commitment to addressing cyber-related issues. Tonga’s multistakeholder approach to cybersecurity, via the national CERT, sets a great example for other economies in the region.
The APNIC Foundation has proudly provided support for the establishment of Tonga CERT through a grant, technical training, and networking opportunities.
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