caribnog

Google, Netflix to join Caribbean Internet providers for CarPIF

By Gerard Best

If you live in the Caribbean, you don’t need to be a computer expert to know that the region’s Internet services need to improve.
If your connection falters so often that you’ve long since stopped calling customer service for redress, then you’ve got a pretty good idea about the challenges of regional connectivity.
Or if you’ve ever tried to launch a web-based startup, but have found yourself at a competitive disadvantage simply because download or upload speeds aren’t cutting it, then you have already have a decent understanding of why the region needs more robust Internet infrastructure.
No further expertise needed.
Of course, fixing the underlying issues that cause those problems is another matter, requiring technical expertise, commerce negotiations and a healthy dose of good old-fashioned collaboration.
That’s precisely the mission of the Bevil Wooding, Shernon Osepa and a volunteer group of Caribbean Internet experts going by the name CaribNOG. They are behind the upcoming Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum (CarPIF) to be held in Barbados from May 27 to 28.
The event is being organised by the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), with support from Packet Clearing House (PCH), the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). It will bring together high-level Internet industry players from across the region and around the world.
It marks the first time that Caribbean Internet service providers and major international content providers such as Google, Akamai and Netflix, will be gathering in the Caribbean for this kind of interaction, said Wooding, Internet Strategist with PCH.
“Internet Peering fora are commonplace in other regions of the world. They are used to bring Internet service providers and content providers from across the spectrum of the Internet ecosystem into one space to build relationships, broker agreements and discuss matters related to the development and strengthening of the peering relationships that underpin the Internet,” Wooding told the Guardian.
As an outcome of the upcoming CarPIF, regional consumers can look forward to a more stable, resilient, efficient Caribbean Internet, he said.

Growing Caribbean Internet economy
Shernon Osepa, Manager, Regional Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean at ISOC, said “the forum is a testament to the growth and maturity that has taken place in the Caribbean Internet landscape over the past few years.”
He explained that the meeting will address “strategies for encouraging and increasing local digital content development, and opportunities for content delivery network operators in the Caribbean.”
Internet exchange point (IXP) operators, infrastructure providers, Internet service providers (ISPs), policymakers and regulators make up the list of registered attendees for the event. The wide range of participants will gain valuable insight into “how the Caribbean can maximise the opportunities that can be derived for greater interconnection and peering,” said Bernadette Lewis, secretary general of the CTU.
That organisation has been playing a major role in bringing regional governments into a greater appreciation of the value of creating a healthy regional Internet ecosystem. Strengthening the region’s critical Internet infrastructure is now widely understood to be a necessary first step to strengthening its Internet economy, as online commerce remains a largely underexploited way for local businesses to deliver local services for local Internet users.

Tech heavyweights networking for Caribbean development at CaribNOG 8-LACNIC Caribbean 6

From left, Carlos Martinez, chief technology officer of the the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), Stephen Lee, programme manager of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) and Bevil Wooding, Caribnog executive director share a light moment on the opening day of Caribnog8-Lacnic Caribbean 6, which is being held at the Hilton in Willemstad, Curacao from September 29 to October 3. Photo: Gerard Best
From left, Carlos Martinez, chief technology officer of the the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), Stephen Lee, programme manager of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) and Bevil Wooding, Caribnog executive director share a light moment on the opening day of Caribnog8-Lacnic Caribbean 6, which is being held at the Hilton in Willemstad, Curacao from September 29 to October 3. Photo: Gerard Best

Caribbean people have an appetite for technology that rivals any other region of the world. But who is working behind the scenes to maintain and upgrade the Internet-based services on which we’ve come to depend?

On September 29, the answer to that question was to be found in Curacao, at one of the most highly anticipated gatherings of the region’s technology community.

Jointly hosted by the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), this regional meeting bears one striking difference from many other ICT-themed meetings in the region. It is widely regarded as a solutions-oriented forum.

“This is a place where issues relevant to the future of the Internet at a regional and global level are being discussed. It is not a talk shop,” said Stephen Lee, CaribNOG programme coordinator.

Lee was among a panel of experts to deliver the orientation and overview in the morning session. The panel included Shernon Osepa, manager for regional affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Internet Society, Bevil Wooding, founder and executive director of Caribnog, and Carlos Martínez, chief technology officer at LACNIC.

“Caribnog’s partnership goes much deeper than co-hosting this event,” Wooding said. “Lacnic covers Latin America and the Caribbean, and Caribnog is a key part of this technical community. We focus on the Caribbean but our concerns and interests extend to Latin America and beyond.”

Martinez echoed the sentiment.

“We found that working together with CaribNOG, Lacnic can effectively reach audiences in the Caribbean, which is an important subset of our service region.”

The weeklong event, which runs from September 29 to October 3, is being held at the Hilton Curacao in Willemstad.

The meeting covers a range of technology topics including cyber security, Internet exchange points, cloud computing, mobile broadband and other critical Internet infrastructure.

More information is available on the official event websites:lacnic.net/web/eventos/caribbean6 and caribnog.org.

Tech experts talk regional cyber security at CaribNOG

Shernon Osepa, the Curacao-born manager of regional affairs for the Internet Society (ISOC) Latin America and the Caribbean, is interviewed by Guardian New Media Editor Gerard Best, at CaribNOG 8, Hilton Curacao, Willemstad, September 30. PHOTO: GERARD BESTCyber security was top of the agenda as over 80 technology professionals from 15 countries gathered in Curacao for the second day of a major regional technology conference. And one expert the issue of data collection

The meeting is the eighth regional gathering of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG).

Because technology plays such an important role in the region’s development, cybersecurity is a major concern, said Shernon Osepa, the Curacao-born manager of regional affairs for the Internet Society (ISOC) Latin America and the Caribbean.

“A lot of commercial banks in the region are being attacked, but they simply don’t report when these attacks are done. So we know that they are happening but we don’t know to what extent,” Osepa said.

“These attacks are being masterminded by people who are highly educated, technically competent and very knowledgeable about Caribbean security vulnerabilities. This is their full-time job. And it is a global industry.”

 Osepa, alongside Albert Daniels, manager of stakeholder engagement for the Caribbean at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), delivered the day’s first presentations, which focused on the need to secure critical Caribbean Internet infrastructure.

“2013 was the year of the mega-breach,” Daniels said, explaining that the number of security breaches reported internationally hit a high last year, a trend that has continued in 2014.

 Daniels said the region’s businesses, governments and citizens needed to better understand the real-world repercussions of unsafe practices in the digital realm.

 One important aspect of education, he said, was to develop the practice of reporting confirmed or suspected cases of computer hacking, identity theft and other kinds of Internet-based criminal activity.

“If you live in the Caribbean, don’t think that the hackers are not trying to use our systems to perpetuate their crime. Even in the countries where there are few reports, that simply means that attacks are going unreported.”

Without reporting, decision-makers are unable to make informed decisions to properly address cybersecurity issues, said Elgeline Martis, head of the Caribbean Cyber Emergency Response Team.

“We in the Caribbean are not collecting data, so we cannot support our decision makers in taking the right cyber security measures. We need to start collecting our own data,” she said.

“For example, if we collect data and we see that spam is a big issue, then we are able to tell decision-makers they should invest in solving problems with spam. You always need updated facts and figures to support informed decision-making.”

Experts join heads on Caribbean cybersecurity

Carlos Martinez (second from left), chief technology officer of the regional Internet registry for Latin American and the Caribbean (LACNIC) and Mark Korsters, chief technical officer of the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), talk with media at CaribNOG 8, Hilton Curacao, Willemstad, September 30. Photo courtesy: LACNIC.
Carlos Martinez (second from left), chief technology officer of the regional Internet registry for Latin American and the Caribbean (LACNIC) and Mark Korsters, chief technical officer of the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), talk with media at CaribNOG 8, Hilton Curacao, Willemstad, September 30. Photo courtesy: LACNIC.

The best way to improve the security of a computer network is to break into it.
That was the advice from cybersecurity expert Fernando Gont of SI6 Networks, speaking at the eighth regional gathering of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) now underway in Curacao.

The slate of expert speakers presenting on cyber security included Mark Kosters, chief technical officer with the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN) and Carlos Martínez, chief technology officer at LACNIC, who took a practical and in-depth look at the nuts and bolts of Internet security.

Martinez said he was “very, very disappointed” with the security industry because their operations were being motivated by the wrong incentives. He compared digital security to national security.

“It works the same way as a private prison. Their best interest is to keep things in a bad state. Their best business comes about by having a bad security situation. What is the financial incentive for them to improve the overall security situation? The best interest of the private prison is to have many prisoners but is that in the best interest of society? No, but the financial incentives of the security industry are wrong.”

Apart from cyber security, the meeting covers a range of technology topics including cloud computing, critical Internet infrastructure and mobile broadband.

For the group the social networking is as important as the computer networking. Between and after highly technical sessions, participants linger in pockets of conversation.

“The CaribNOG meeting is an interesting gathering where competitors in daily business become colleagues with the common interest in defending Caribbean networks,” said Bevil Wooding, one of the CaribNOG founders and an organiser of the weeklong event.

Interactions over meals and side meetings during breaks are a regular and important feature of the conference, which attracts technology professionals representing diverse interests from around the region and across the world.

The event is being held at the Hilton Curacao, Willemstad from September 29 to October 3.

7th CARIBNOG Happening Now in Dominica

Bevil Wooding, left, one of the founders of CaribNOG, leads a session at the seventh installment of the regional technology development event, held in Roseau, Dominica from April 28 to May 2, 2014. Photo courtesy CaribNOG.
Bevil Wooding, left, one of the founders of CaribNOG, leads a session at the seventh installment of the regional technology development event, held in Roseau, Dominica from April 28 to May 2, 2014. Photo courtesy CaribNOG.

ROSEAU – Regional and international technology experts are gathering in Dominica to address Caribbean technology challenges and to collaboratively derive solutions that are relevant to the region.

The Caribbean Network Operators Group, CaribNOG, is hosting its seventh regional meeting in the island’s capital city, Roseau, from April 28 to May 2.

CaribNOG is a forum for network technicians and technology professionals from across the region to share experiences and participate in expert-led, high-tech training exercises and hands-on technical workshops.

“The Caribbean is at an interesting juncture with respect to its growing dependence on Internet-related technologies. The region is extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks and has to take steps to develop its technical human resource capacity. CaribNOG is key part of the response to that challenge,” said Bevil Wooding.

Wooding, one of the founders of CaribNOG, cited examples from around the world where similar volunteer groups have emerged and now collaborate to help protect local networks against mounting threats, and to keep pace with technology change.

CaribNOG 7 follows a series of workshops and training events held across the Caribbean in 2013, including two regional meetings in Barbados (CaribNOG 5) and Belize (CaribNOG 6). Sessions will focus on network design, mobile network infrastructure, cyber security, Internet Exchange Point management and cloud infrastructure.

Stephen Lee, CaribNOG’s programme coordinator, described the work of the volunteer-based group as “invaluable for advancing the technical skills of ICT professionals in the region who design, manage or secure the network infrastructure”.

The CaribNOG meeting is being streamed via the Internet for remote participants. Participants are drawn from the Caribbean, Latin America and North America and as far away as Europe and Africa. The event is being hosted by the Dominican National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) at the Fort Young Hotel in the capital city of Roseau.