Academia and industry need to join forces to combat cybercrime – Bawumia

Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, Oct.1, GNA – Vice President Dr Mahamudu
Bawumia, Monday, called for stronger linkages between the Universities and
industry to equip the young cyber experts with the requisite tools to
strengthen Ghana’s readiness to combat the increasing spate of cybercrimes and
cyber security breaches.

He said a robust digital ecosystem was
essential if the country was to achieve the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda, saying
that, all the fundamental importance of the innovations the Government was
putting in place anchored on reducing the cost of transactions and making the
life of the citizens better.

Therefore, he said, there was the need to
ensure that the systems, networks and processes that governed the use of and
access to technologies were reliable and predictable.

Dr Bawumia said these when he launched the
National Cyber Security Awareness Month and the National Cyber Security
Awareness Programme dubbed: “A Safer Digital Ghana”, in Accra.

“While we’re becoming more reliant on the
digital economy, it is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to
create awareness to ensure the digital world is secured and mutually beneficial
to all users,” he said.

A cyber security maturity study commissioned
by the Ministry of Communications and conducted by the Global Cyber Security
Capacity Centre (GCSCC) of the University of Oxford in collaboration with the
World Bank, has described Ghana’s cyber security maturity level at a formative
stage based on the Cyber Security Capacity Maturity Model for nations adopted
for the study.

The month-long programme aims at educating the
public to safeguard the country’s cyber space and ensure a safer digital
citizenship at all levels – children, the public, business and government, for
the safety and security of Ghana’s digital ecosystem.

The event, jointly organised by the Ministry
of Communications and the National Cyber Security Centre, brought together
Information Communication Technology Experts, Chief Executives of Ministries,
Departments and Agencies, Members of Parliament, Ministers of State and
development partners.  Traditional rulers
and students, also attended the programme.

Dr Bawumia said both governments and
businesses around the world were searching for effective and efficient cyber
defence strategies.

“Indeed, our Critical National Information
Infrastructure, such as the banking system, energy, government services,
telecommunications and our national defence are now dependent on our ability as
a country to secure these infrastructure.

Vice President Bawumia gave the assurance that
the country, under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was
heading in the right direction regarding the digitisation of the economy.

He recalled some government policies initiated
to formalise the economy and increase the revenue mobilisation efforts, such as
the National Digital Property Addressing System, Mobile Money Payment
Interoperability System, Paperless Ports System, National Identification
System, Electronic Procurement System, while efforts were underway to digitize
the land administration system.

However, he said, the nation could not fully
reap the digital dividends as a means of socio-economic transformation, if we
failed to mitigate both existing and emerging cyber security threats.

Vice President Bawumia said: “This awareness
month is to bring to the attention of the general public the already critical
importance of security within the cyber ecosystem of our country as well as the
profound impact of dynamic technologies in our lives”.

He said the nation was part of a global
village that was pushing for connectivity in an increasingly digital world,
nothing that, “For a growing number of citizens, daily connectivity has almost
become an essential commodity”.

“As we become more and closely connected to
each other, together we become highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. When there
are insufficient authentication methods or lack of consumer security knowledge
then each user is only as safe or vulnerable as the other”.

Vice President Bawumia acknowledged the danger
posed by cyber attackers, noting that, attackers usually aimed at accessing,
changing or distorting sensitive information.

“Some extort money from users, or they
interrupt business processes whether in the private or public sector. Imagine
the effects of attackers on the financial system.

“They can misdirect financial transactions and
distort bank records. And the cost of such data breaches no doubt can be very
high,” Dr Bawumia observed.

To safeguard the country’s cyber space, the
Vice President said a National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy had been
drafted and that the policy and the strategy would be completed by the end of
the year, subject to stakeholders input.

The Policy, he said, would mandate the
Ministry of Communications to work with other Ministries, Agencies, the private
sector and Ghana’s International Partners to address any issues that may have
the potential to compromise the country’s security.

He said a National Cyber Security
Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council and a National Cyber Security Technical
Working Group were inaugurated by the President and the Minister of
Communications in October last year, to support the Ministry in securing the
nation’s cyberspace.

“The Council and the Technical Working Group,
which is represented by relevant government agencies are working to ensure that
all the necessary inter-linkages and the likely impacts are effectively
coordinated at the policy and operational levels of government,” Dr Bawumia


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