Future of Digital Security

Commitment to Cybersecurity at a Global Scale: IST at the Cybersecurity Leadership Program in Costa Rica

Zoë Brammer

By Zoë BrammerElizabeth Vish on March 20, 2023

From March 14 to 17, we were pleased to participate in the Duke University Cybersecurity Leadership Program in Costa Rica. The event brought together senior government and private sector leaders and cyber and legal experts from across Latin America. 

Throughout the week, attendees demonstrated a strong commitment to tackling cybercrime, improving cybersecurity, and bolstering public-private partnerships. In our conversations with Latin American government officials and private sector representatives, we were struck by a shared sense of urgency to address ransomware. We’re heartened to see Latin American cybersecurity experts bringing engagement, energy, and experience to the counter-ransomware fight.

While in Costa Rica, we gave a presentation to attendees that focused on the #RansomwareTaskForce’s lines of effort. Part of our presentation zeroed in on the insights from our report Mapping the Ransomware Payment Ecosystem, walking through a typical payment process when victims decide to pay a ransom. In conversation with national CSIRT officials from across the region, we also highlighted best practices for cyber incident reporting and how small and medium sized entities can implement a set of foundational and actionable safeguards to improve their cybersecurity and ultimately defend against ransomware attacks. 

At the event, we also had the chance to hear from a variety of impressive speakers about their own work in the cybersecurity field. Carolina Taborda of the Costa Rican Cybersec Cluster talked about the ways in which Costa Rica’s cluster structure is enabling active collaboration between academia, government and the private sector.  She shared an example of Cybersec Cluster’s innovative approach: they were able to offer cybersecurity trainings in universities across Costa Rica that responded to the needs of industry and ultimately improved employment prospects. The Duke Sanford Public Policy team also included us in a full-day simulation focused on addressing an hypothetical (although all too realistic!) ransomware incident within a national health system. 

The program, complimented by an amazing set of informal conversations over coffee (and a viewing of a Duke basketball game in a local bar), was a great window into the progress that Latin American network defenders are making to secure cyberspace for their citizens’ use. We look forward to continued collaboration!