A report by the Center for Strategic And International Studies (CSIS) and McAfee has revealed that cyber crime cost the world 608 billion USD in 2017 alone according to Dr Mahamadu Bawumia at the launch of the National Cyber Security Awareness Campaign and the National Cyber Security Awareness month dubbed "A Safer Digital Ghana" at the Kofi Annan ICT Training Center in Accra.
Dr Bawumia said that a robust digital ecosystem is essential in achieving the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda. The report highlighted major concerns especially in the developing world captured in a quote "the relationship of the developing world to cyber-crime is complex as the mobile interconnections that have brought the internet millions are easily exploitedthe countries with the greatest losses as a percentage of national income are in the mid tier nations; those that are digitised but not yet fully capable in cyber security ".
His Excellency said that the awareness month is to bring to the attention of the public, the already critical importance of security within the cyber security, cyber ecosystem of Ghana as well as the profound impact of dynamic technology in our lives.
He said "Ghana is part of the global village that is pushing for connectivity in an increasingly digital world". Daily connectivity, he added, has become an essential commodity but increased interconnections means vulnerability to cyber attacks.
He said that attackers usually aim at accessing, changing or distorting sensitive information, extortion of monies from others or interruption of business processes .
"As we become more reliant on a digital economy, we must have collective responsibility to create awareness as an imperative for ensuring that our digital world is secure and mutually beneficial to all users" he said. Dr Bawumia added said that government has made fundamental changes and improvements in a number of ways in using digital technology such as the National Digital Address System, Mobile Money Interoperability System (MMI), National Identification Card System, Paperless Port System as well as a number of e-government initiatives such as e-justice and criminal
justice case tracking system, e-immigration and so on.
Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said that the use of ICT has seen tremendous growth with the most vibrant users between the ages of 18 to 28 years. She said that a Global Cyber Security Index report in 2016 estimates that about 12 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020.
An annual report by the Global Digital Agencies revealed that about 10.11m Ghanaians are reported to be using the internet representing 35 per cent of the population.
She said that appropriate legal regimes are needed especially in developing countries like Ghana to combat cyber crime. "It is clearly evident that our region has also witnessed massive improvements in the use of internet and digital technology in the past few years" she added.
"Statistics released by Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System and Bank of Ghana indicate that over almost a million transactions were recorded through the MMI as at the end of August 2018, barely 3 months after the system was launched" she stated.
Mrs Owusu Ekuful said the Ministry facilitated a Maturity Assessment conducted by the World Bank in collaboration with the University of Oxford placed Ghana at the formative stage in the cyber security level. The report, she said, identified the lack of awareness in cyber security as a major stumbling block as well as the instances of exploitation of children online, fake news alerts, online scams especially with the
identities of Members of parliaments, mobile money fraud and so on. She asked that the National Budget make provisions for cyber security.
The Minister for Information designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the cyber security program has come at a crucial time in our development where there is widespread agitation on the effects of the cyber world and cyber manipulation which pose as a major threat to national security.
"In Ghana specifically, while we are making efforts to deepen internet access, constitutions, individuals and businesses, the state is also making efforts to digitise major aspects of our national life. Government's sensitisation agenda in key public institutions is aimed at efficiency, service delivery and consistent actions in a global digital age.
He added that significant achievements have been recorded with the introduction of Paperless Port Process, MMI and many others which he described as catalysts to development. He said that increasing risks inherent in the cyber world call for increasing need to hasten cyber robustness in Ghana.
Others present at the launch were the Deputy Minister of Communications Mr George Andah and Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei, Minister for Interior Mr Ambrose Dery, National Cyber Security Advisor, Mr Albert Antwi Bosiako, National Cyber Security Technical Working Group , other international and local stakeholders, security personnel and the media.