Pacific Media Watch

10 May 2013

FIJI: Regime to boost war on cyber-crime after alleged attack

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Participants at the cyber security workshop in Suva this week. Image: Fiji Sun

AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): Fiji will escalate its efforts against cyber crime in a bid to combat money-laundering, the Ministry of Information announced today.

Fiji was often defenceless against money-laundering and cyber crime, said Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration, Joketani Cokanasiga, at a two-day Cyber Security Workshop in Suva this week.

“We have money-laundering going through our security daily. It is the criminal activities that occur that we are targeting, especially money-laundering and transfer of funds overseas that we want to control," Cokanasiga said, according to the Fiji Sun.

The minister said that cyber attacks can affect the gross domestic product in Fiji negatively. Cokanasiga also expressed concern over “child online pornography" and said " intellectual property infringements have an impact on communities”.

One of the ways Fiji will try to battle cyber crime is, according to Cokanasiga, to collaborate with the University of the South Pacific “to host consultations with stakeholders”.

Already in 2011, Fiji commissioned the Fiji Cyber Security Working Group in order to strengthen its defence against online attacks, as well as informing the general public about the dangers of cyber crime.

The government actions follow the recommendations of Fiji academic and lawyer Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro.

In a recent journal article, Tamanikaiwaimaro suggested to 1) hold a workshop to identify critical areas and develop a plan on how to deal with them, 2) establish a working group to identify categories of cyber crime, 3) advance the research in the field, 4) identify local, national and regional partners, and 5) develop a cohesive and effective policy and national strategy.

Cyber attack?
The anti-regime Fijian blog Coupfourpointfive alleged Friday that there had been a breach of the IT systems of the Fiji National Provident Fund records.

The Fiji National Provident Fund is Fiji’s largest financial institution, collecting contributions towards retirement savings of workers in Fiji.

This attack may have nothing to do with the cyber attack workshop, but it was reported that compromising information was seized.

Coupfourpointfive claimed records of how much money there was in the accounts of certain government members had been acquired, as well as records of senior management in the Fiji National Provident Fund receiving bonus payments.

It was alleged that this information had been sent to Fiji media, which had failed to report on it.

According to the blog, one media organisation, which asked questions about the records, was visited by the police which confiscated its information.

Denies attack
On Monday, the Fiji National Provident Fund said that it has strengthened its IT security system after a failed cyber attack, according to The Fiji Times. 

CEO at the Fiji National Provident Fund, Aisake Taito, confirmed Sunday that their IT system detected an unsuccesful cyber attack. 

"We would like to assure our members that no classified member or financial information was compromised during this failed attempt," Taito said. 

According to Taito the Fiji National Provident has stringent measures and procedures in the event of such attacks. He also informed that the attack has been reported to the police. 



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Daniel Drageset

PMW contributing editor 2013

Daniel Drageset is a Norwegian radio journalist who graduated with a Master in Communication Studies degree at AUT University.