Tourism ministry’s servers breached

Tourism ministry’s servers breached
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar. (FILE PHOTO)

D’Aguilar: security breach, ultimately a result of complacency

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of Tourism is the latest government entity to fall victim to a security breach, according to Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, who told Eyewitness News Online that his ministry’s information systems were infected with a virus Tuesday.

The virus impacted a host of digital files.

“We found a virus on our server that began to corrupt some files,” the minister said.

“The servers were shut down immediately.”

Although D’Aguilar said he not believe sensitive information was compromised, he noted that an investigation will be launched to determine the exact extent of the breach.

Responding to questions concerning the ministry’s safety protocols, the minister said, “Did we have appropriate firewalls in place; did we have appropriate anti-virus software in place; did we have the necessary back-ups in place? When you start to dig into these questions, you start to see that we were lacking in some areas.”

D’Aguilar admitted that the breach was ultimately a result of complacency.

He told reporters that the government “got a little complacent.”

He added, “The question is not how it got there, it’s what can we put in place to prevent it from getting there. [You can’t] think that [just because] you bought an anti-virus software 10 years ago that it’s still going to work today. It’s unrealistic.”

Notwithstanding the security breach, the minister said he believes the situation is manageable and can be repaired.

It is unclear if and how much the breach has cost the government.

D’Aguilar yesterday refuted suggestions from some quarters of the public that the ministry contracted information and technology consultants previously engaged by a company he owns.

He said, “We have sufficient expertise to do that. We have a very robust I.T. department.”

In January, the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas was partly shut out of its internal systems for days after hackers, believed to be overseas, infiltrated the corporation’s servers and demanded it hand over between $18,000 and $20,000 in the cryptocurrency, bitcoin.

About Matthew Moxey

Matthew Moxey is a broadcast reporter with Eyewitness News and also serves as the station’s morning radio news anchor for 103.5 The Beat. He joined Eyewitness News as an intern, which led to him becoming a full-time broadcast reporter with the news station. Some of his notable work includes his correspondence with international networks such as CNN, FOX and NBC; his reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic; and his live coverage of monster storm Hurricane Dorian.