Peruvian Minister of Defense Walter Martos Ruíz inaugurated the headquarters of the Armed Forces Joint Command’s Cyber Defense Operational Command (COCID, in Spanish) in Lima, in late January 2020. The command’s mission is to plan and carry out cyberspace operations to counter attacks against national security.
“The unit is equipped with cutting-edge technology and infrastructure for cyberspace protection,” Peruvian Air Force Major General Augusto Calderón Sandoval, COCID commander, told Diálogo. “The war conducted in the fifth domain is asymmetrical and subject to constant threats that affect digital security, information systems, telecommunications, and critical national assets.”
COCID’s capabilities include the protection of different technological platforms and information systems from attacks, their recovery in the event of total or partial failure, threat detection, and blocking the use of cyberspace to adversaries, the Ministry of Defense told the press.
“Although COCID’s integration and the Cyber Defense Act’s approval are recent, the digital dimension in the Peruvian military dates back many years,” Jorge Serrano, an academic at the Center for Higher National Studies in Peru, told Diálogo. “The operational command has unique capabilities to obtain, process, filter, and interpret vast outputs of information, and then turn it into useful intelligence and share it with anyone who might need it, to neutralize any threats.”
Peru is the second most affected country from spyware in Latin America, just behind Mexico, said the Slovakian IT security company ESET. The most frequent attacks include data and banking passwords theft, as well as cryptocurrency mining, ESET added. Between April and September 2019, Peruvian companies suffered more than 3 billion attempted cyberattacks, said the Peruvian economic newspaper Gestión.
“COCID works with the private sector to protect critical assets such as basic services [health, water, and electricity] for the population,” Serrano said. According to The Global Risks Report 2020 from the World Economic Forum, cyberattacks are among the 10 main global risks of 2020.
“One of the most important activities in the fight against online threats is joining efforts and training personnel continuously in digital security such as information technology and communications,” said Maj. Gen. Calderón. “COCID’s main challenges are to find vulnerable points in the system and to protect access, use, and contents in the virtual arena.”