Ghana has so far recorded a total of 11,550 cases of cybercrimes since launching its Cybercrime Incident Reporting Points of Contact (PoC) in October 2019.
This, according to the National Cybersecurity Advisor, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, has been achieved as a result of the enhancement of the work of the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) with that of the PoC.
The PoC was launched in October 2019 by the Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful to facilitate the reporting of cybercrime and cybersecurity incidents by the public.
Cyber Security Awareness Month
Speaking at the formal opening of the 2020 National Cyber Security Awareness Month and the launch of the Child Online Protection (COP) Portal in Accra on Thursday, October 1, 2020, Dr Antwi-Boasiako, said the Points of Contact are especially crucial as it will augment the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) Reporting Portal.
He pointed out that the CERT of the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) has also produced a number of advisories, incident alerts and vulnerability notes to both the public and allied agencies of CERTs, including the National Communications Authority’s Computer Emergency Response Team (NCA-CERT), for the telecommunications sector, and the Security Operations Centre at the Bank of Ghana (BOG-SOC), for the financial sector; which were established in 2018.
That, Dr Antwi-Bosiako noted, had further improved the country’s incident response capabilities.
According to him, the country’s cyber space was becoming safer as result of the various awareness creation activities that the Ministry of Communications and the NCSC had created.
“I trust that there will be a significant increase in the use of the Points of Contact to report cybersecurity incidents and cybercrime cases,” he said, adding that the strides that the country is making in the area of cybersecurity has been recognised internationally.
That, Dr Antwi-Boasiako said has attracted commendations by “the World Bank, World Economic Forum, UNICEF, and the ECOWAS Commission, among others, with the ECOWAS Commission requesting Ghana to lead cybersecurity efforts in the African sub-region.”
He added that “Ghana’s cybersecurity readiness is expected to reach an average of 50% in the 2020 ranking in view of the critical interventions made to improve our readiness.”
He noted that “Ghana was recently nominated to serve on the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) with Ghana being the only African country.”
Dr Antwi-Boasiako explained that “whilst we have to be candid to admit that we haven’t gotten there yet as the journey is still work in progress, I believe we have to also be honest in our recognition of these achievements, which are critical milestones so that we work together to build upon that.”
He expressed the hope that the National Cyber Security Awareness Month will help establish and strengthen people’s knowledge in cybersecurity, adding “It is imperative that we continue to heighten security protocols as the cyber incidents are also expected to increase.”
He again expressed the optimism that “this awareness month will also continue to strengthen our formal and informal cooperation at both local and international levels, to bridge divides and foster unity among the cyber community members, whilst projecting Ghana’s cybersecurity efforts at a global level.”
In a speech read on her behalf, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, said to further improve the regulatory regime for cybersecurity in the country, her ministry has submitted a draft Cybersecurity Bill to Cabinet for consideration, adding that “Parliament is expected to consider this Bill before the end of the year.”
According to her, “our work on cybersecurity at the domestic level has won admiration and commendation from the international community,” saying “The Council of Europe has recognised Ghana as the hub for cybercrime capacity building in the English-speaking ECOWAS region.”