Cuenca expat and cybersecurity expert debunks the government’s hacking explanation

Sep 19, 2019 | 11 comments

Vadim Avdeev, a former Russian military and civilian cybersecurity expert, says that Ecuador’s government was warned of inadequate data security measures long before last week’s hack that exposed the personal information of almost 20 million residents.

Vadim Avdeev in his Cuenca office. (El Mercurio)

He also says the government’s claim that former employees of the Rafael Correa government are to blame for the breach is bogus.

“I have told national and local governments since I moved in Ecuador in 2017 that their level of cyber security was very poor,” says Cuenca expat Avdeev. “I have even advised people around President [Lenin] Moreno of the extreme risk but they only seem interested in responding after there’s a problem. The blame for the recent leak rests entirely with the current government.”

Avdeev, who is a consultant for local companies and government agencies, adds that poor cyber security is also a problem for most private companies, including banks, as well as public companies such as utilities.

Although the government has arrested the manager of Novaestrat, the firm that managed the 18 gigabytes of leaked data, Avdeev says that the problem is “systemic” and needs to be addressed from top to bottom in both the public and private sectors.”

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“The country ranks near the bottom worldwide in cybersecurity and without a serious commitment from the government the leaks will continue,” Avdeev says.

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