A ‘new’ form of cybercrime is gradually warming its way into Ghana.
Sextortion which obviously was formed out of the two words “Sex” and “Extortion” is not new around the world but it is gradually gaining grounds in Ghana specifically targeted at women.
Inspector Mohammed Bako of the Ghana Police Service revealed this at the July Accra Tech Salon organised by Penplusbytes.
“There is an emerging trend that people fail to report and it is called sextortion: perpetrators often go online, feign living in the UK and propose to Ghanaian women,” Bako explained.
“They convince them and manage to get nude pictures of them after which they make monetary demands.”
They make countless monetary demands and when their victims fail to comply they threaten to share their nude pictures online.
He further noted that although women are falling victim to this fraudulent tactics, they fail to report for fear of stigmatisation.
“People don’t want these things to come out so they keep paying and paying and it’s a real and a big problem that is emerging here in Ghana”
Sextortion isn’t the only ‘new’ cyber security threat that the nation is grappling with.
“Beyond the usual fraud, people are using the cyber space for drugs, human trafficking and terrorism.
He cited the recent development where two Ghanaians were recruited by ISIS through the cyber space.
Police Effort to curb cyber criminality
The Cyber-criminal Unit at the Police Headquarters according to him, is still at its nascent stage with basic logistical challenge but making headway in dealing with cyber criminalities.
He said in addition to the criminal code they use, there is an Electronic Transaction Act that enables the Police Service to fight against criminalities.
“It’s a major issues, if you put aside the financial losses that individuals, banks, organisations and even the state incur as a result of this cyber securities.
The Ministry of Communication also revealed that government has put together a cyber security policy which includes setting up a national cyber security centre to coordinate all cyber related initiatives to protect Ghanaians. The center upon completion is expected to host a computer emergency response team.
Part of the strategy is to build cyber security capacity and technical skills to enable the Ghana become self-reliant in dealing with cyber security issues in the next 5 years.
Pamela Ofori-Boateng/ Business World Ghana