The Caribbean Network Operators Group, called CaribNOG, is the region’s first volunteer-based community of network engineers, computer security experts and tech aficionados. CaribNOG 14, the latest in their series of twice-yearly meetings held in various locations across the region, took place on October 12 in Georgetown, Guyana.
The overall success of CaribNOG 14 was very evident. A large, diverse and engaged turnout filled not only the seats available in the room but also the time available for questions. Lively and interactive open mic segments revealed the audience’s high interest in the main topic being covered: cyber security.
In the opening session CaribNOG Co-Founder Bevil Wooding took a high-level overview of the global issue through a Caribbean lens, outlining some of the main actors, challenges and priorities of special relevance to the region. In particular, he called on Caribbean governments to continue to development legislative agendas to strengthen their overall regional cyber security framework.
“Governments can play an important role in the regional response to cyber security challenges by passing laws that criminalise malicious cyber activity. If there is no law, there are no cyber crimes, only cyber attacks and cyber incidents,” said Wooding, who is also the Caribbean Outreach Manager at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).
Mark Kosters, Chief Technology Officer of ARIN, shared his experiences dealing with cyber threats to enterprise in the early days of the Internet. He stressed the importance of governments and private corporations tangibly demonstrating a commitment to cyber security by investing in physical infrastructure development and human resource education.
The ARIN CTO returned as a member of Network Security panel discussion, alongside Alejandro Acosta, Research and Development Engineer at the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) and Shernon Osepa, Manager of Regional Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Internet Society.
CaribNOG Co-Founder Stephen Lee’s presentation on ‘The Caribbean Cloud’ encouraged local participants to consider alternative entrepreneurial possibilities beyond the status quo of current economic and technical restraints. Later, in a joint presentation with fellow Caribnogger Claire Craig, Lee returned to share some useful, if less philosophical, perspectives on increasing network control and resiliency.
CaribNOG 14 was held jointly with the Lac-i-Roadshow of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Albert Daniels, Senior Manager for Stakeholder Engagement in the Caribbean at ICANN, outlined the organisation’s work in supporting secure network deployments around the world. He also stressed the need for securing autonomous networks and developing constantly evolving best practices and standards.
Rounding off the afternoon agenda were two brief presentations. Kenneth Parris, a local digital entrepreneur, recounted some personal tales from the trenches of software development within the constraints of Caribbean Internet connectivity issues. Then Rodney Murally of network security firm Fortinet, offered a live demonstration of how unknown and potential threats can be addressed through practical risk assessment strategies.
CaribNOG 14 and the Lac-i-Roadshow were jointly held as part of the Network Security Day of Internet Week Guyana, held in Georgetown from October 9 to 13, hosted by the Ministry of Public Telecommunications.
CaribNOG 15 takes place in Miami, Florida on April 19 to 20, 2018, immediately following ARIN’s next public policy meeting, ARIN 41.
“At CaribNOG 15, we’re expecting a large turnout of network operators, telecommunications regulators, academics, Internet service providers, engineering and computer science students, special interest groups and government representatives, drawn from across the region and around the world,” Wooding said.