Fighting cyber-attacks is matter of national security, Cuban minister said
- Submitted by: manso
- Politics and Government
- 02 / 25 / 2011
17:20, February 25, 2011. Cuba is waging efforts to prevent cyber-attacks by developing national software and migrating all Cuban state institutions to a national open source code program, Cuban Informatics and Communications Vice Minister Boris Moreno told Xinhua Thursday.
He said Cuba is a poor embargoed country with a "historical enemy", referring to the United States, and the development of national software and computers to replace the imported ones is a "matter of national security."
He said every transnational organization producing computer hardware and software is obliged "by law" to leave open backdoors to world's major intelligence agencies, affecting Cuba's national sovereignty and security and thus underlining the importance of developing its national software to prevent the extraction of important data.
Moreno added the protection of Cuba's network is aimed to prevent attacks by hackers not only from the United States "as many people might think," but from anywhere else in the world.
He said "after the emerging of the Internet there are cyber-powers everywhere". He cited the most devastating virus named "I love you" which was created with a cheap laptop in a poor wooden Philippine house.
For that purpose, the Cuban authorities have set as part of its strategic objective in 2011 to conclude the first stage of the migration to free software in all government departments, he said.
Also the Cuban NOVA Linux will be the operating system used on 90 percent of its workstations.
Moreno is in charge of managing the entire process of the migration to the so-called free programs. He stressed that the process would increase Cuba's technological sovereignty while cutting the cost at the same time.
Cuba's Customs Administration would be the first department to migrate completely. It is currently using free software developed in Cuba even though the entire IT infrastructure in the country has not been migrated.
Also the ministries of education, culture, health and informatics and communications, among others, will switch to free national software, Moreno said.
He highlighted the Cuban Nova Linux 3.0, launched at the 14th International Convention and Fair Informatica 2011 in Havana, which aims to achieve standards of excellence in terms of technological independence, sovereignty and security.
"Moreover, conditions are created to meet an old claim that computers assembled in the country are to be distributed with two operation systems installed, the Cuban Nova Linux and Windows," Moreno said.
The U.S. embargo law prohibits Cuba from access to software developed under U.S. patents. So Cubans are not supposed to work with Windows.
"The more complicated problem of the migration to free software is to convince end users, both because of the strong habit of using Microsoft Windows in Cuba, and the human nature of resisting change," he said.
"It is true that Microsoft Windows has long been used by Cubans, and Windows has so many facilities that people get used to easily, while some open source applications are not as robust in giving answers, despite the benefits they bring to the country. It is necessary to convince end users of the benefits of free software," Moreno said.
He said the Ministry of Information and Communications has set up a Disclosure Committee tasked to design the strategy to promote the use of open source software.
"The goal is to promote the culture and activities associated with the migration, primarily among professionals of information technology and the general public as well, and highlight the importance of the migration as a vital element to achieve higher levels of technological security and sovereignty," Moreno said.