The many government initiatives aimed at formalising the economy through the deployment of requisite technologies require an attendant investment into providing the necessary protection to safeguard the integrity of the electronic data gathered as a result from attacks, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated.
According to the President, the rising incidents of cyber-attacks recorded globally over the past few months are enough indicators for governments to begin to develop the needed infrastructure to improve on their cyber security emergency response readiness.
He noted that in Ghana, the introduction of National Identification, digital address systems, e-payments platforms, digital financial services and the various e-government initiatives being undertaken by government, in addition to other critical services, makes the demand for cyber security more paramount.
“The survival of the economy and its critical systems such as power, telecommunication, financial sector, government services and the entire social and security systems is dependent on the ability of government to protect and secure ICT assets and systems,” he noted.
The President made these comments at the opening ceremony of the National Cyber Security Week, on the theme ‘Securing Ghana’s Digital Journey’, at the International Conference Centre in Accra yesterday.
Ghana lost $50m to cyber-attacks in 2016
It is estimated that Ghana lost $50 million to cyber-attacks in 2016. The rate at which subscribers of mobile money are being defrauded by both criminals and some staff of telecom companies has reached alarming proportions.
President Nana Akufo-Addo noted further that among the prevalent crimes in the country, the ones that are committed over the use of ICT platforms seem to dominate, with children being the most vulnerable.
“Children are also facing risks on the internet, including risks associated with improper contacts, conducts and contents on the internet,” he stressed.
He was concerned that with the advent of technology, more young people easily give away information about themselves voluntarily without recourse to the vulnerabilities they may be exposing themselves to.
“It is critical, therefore, that those in charge of protecting our ICT security are well equipped with the knowledge and expertise to do so. The tools and competencies with which we fight crime must necessarily, therefore, change”.
He added that the dynamics of crime in the country require that the qualification requirements regime for enlisting people into the security forces be looked at critically.
“I dare say it is time to take another look at the qualifications that we require in a policeman, for example; if what we use to define crime has changed, then we should redefine the crime fighters as well”.
He added that as Ghana and other developing countries transition from a traditional economy to an IT-enabled one, it is imperative for existing systems to be strengthened to keep up with changing trends.
“Unfortunately, as is to be expected, developing countries are the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks because of the fragile nature of our IT systems”, he added.
He pledged government’s commitment to ensuring the effective deployment of the requisite technologies to ensure the safety of its cyberspace.
To this end, he mentioned government’s intention to establish a National Cyber Security Centre.