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Expert warns of rising cyber attacks

Sun, 5 Sep 2021 Source: business24.com.gh

Stanbic Bank’s Chief Information Security Officer, Albert Yirenchi Danquah, has advised Ghanaians to demand the protection of their information from service providers, as no one is immune to the devastating effects of cyberattacks.

Speaking at a public symposium organised by the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana in partnership with digiCAP and the University of Cape Coast, he said the chances of online data breaches and cyber crimes are common due to the vast number of Ghanaians online.

“About 50 percent of Ghanaians are online doing one thing or the other. Juxtapose this with the fact that according to Kaspersky, Ghana was the 78th most attacked country in the world relative to cyberattacks. This means people are busy in our cyber space and chances are that we are all potential targets,” Mr. Yirenchi Danquah said.

He noted that in Ghana and in the West African sub-region, the motivation for cyberattacks is usually financial, making financial institutions the primary target for cyberattacks.

He said: “Even though we may not hear frequently of reports of cyberattacks, they happen all the time, particularly with people trying to defraud others using digital means. I am sure we have all received calls from strange numbers trying to defraud us. That is how common cases of cybercrimes have become now.”

Mr. Danquah advised government to consider prioritising cybersecurity and funding for the execution of Ghana’s national cybersecurity strategy while at the same time building resilience and the foundational capability to protect national assets due to their vulnerability to cyberattacks.

He also encouraged international cooperation with other countries to help minimise the incidence of cyberattacks.

“A lot is happening to push cybersecurity to the fore. This is evident in the passing of the Data Protection Act in 2012 and the Cybersecurity Act in 2020. The Bank of Ghana has also been very proactive in making sure that the financial sector is protected from cyberattacks. There is however a lot more to be done on both the national and individual level to make us more secure,” he added.

For the citizenry, he advised that identity theft is on the rise and individuals should do their best to safeguard their Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

PII is information that when used alone or with other relevant data can identify an individual. This may include full name, email address, date of birth, ID number, etc. This information in the hands of a fraudster could lead to impersonation.

“Imagine the police showing up at your door for a crime you did not commit just because a fake ID bearing your details was found at the crime scene. We should demand adequate security of our PII from service providers who request same,” he said.

The symposium, which was held under the theme “State Ghana’s Cybersecurity: Should We Be Concerned?”, brought together key players from industry, academia and government to deliberate on Ghana’s cybersecurity and measures to be taken to ensure that Ghanaians are protected.

Other panelists included Jacqueline Hanson-Kotei, Senior Manager, Enterprise Information Security & Governance, MTN Ghana; Paul K. Arhin Jr., Lecturer, Computer Science Department, University of Cape Coast; and Dr. Quist Aphesti Kester, Senior Lecturer at the Ghana Communication Technology University.

Source: business24.com.gh
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