State of Cybersecurity in Latin America

From Holly K. Sonneland, “LatAm Minute: James Bosworth on the State of Cybersecurity in Latin America”,  American Society / Council of the Americas (AS/COA), May 13th 2015.

While virtually no one anywhere is immune from a cybersecurity threat, Latin America is a vulnerable region. “The whole developing world is less secure in many ways because there’s so much pirated software,” says risk analyst James Bosworth. An estimated 59 percent of all software installations in Latin America were unlicensed in 2013, with comparable rates for the rest of the developing world, according to one study by a global software advocacy group. In Latin America, the commercial value of pirated software is the highest in Brazil and Mexico at $2.9 and $1.2 billion, respectively, while Venezuela has the highest rate of pirated software installations at 88 percent. (The global average of 43 percent is brought down by rates of 19 percent in North America and 29 percent in Western Europe. Note: the study counts Mexico in its Latin America totals, and not in North America.)

That means that, for example, a Windows Update patch does not go to a computer that’s running a pirated version of Windows. As Bosworth explains: “Any time there’s a server or a computer that is not being patched and not having its vulnerabilities patched, it makes both that computer and the computers around it less secure because it provides an entryway for criminals or for other cyber attacks to get in.”

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