Ghana’s leading Cyber Security and Investigations firm, e-Crime Bureau, has launched Cyber Essentials Certification Programme.

e-Crime’s Cyber Security services are designed to proactively address evolving Cyber Security needs and challenges facing organizations.

Cyber-attacks targeting computers, networks and the information technology infrastructure of businesses and institutions are becoming very common with the increasing reliance on information technology. Businesses are affected when it comes to deploying appropriate cyber security solutions and measures. This is as a result of the low level of cyber security awareness of employees which contributes to many cyber and data security breaches.

The aforementioned necessitated the launch of the Cyber Essentials Certification Programme.

Speaking at the launch in Accra on Thursday, the Deputy Minister for Communications, Hon. Vincent Sowah Odotei, said, information technology has transformed the global economy and connected people and markets in ways beyond imagination.

He said due to the increasing dependency on the data centric technology, most of our daily activities have become complex and revolves in and around the cyberspace.

“Yet many people still worry about the security of their online transactions and whether their privacy is being protected. The anonymity of cyberspace has indeed rendered all boundaries meaningless and thus facilitates the use of information technology for cybercrime. The endless stream of news stories about cyberattacks contributes to these concerns,” The Minister noted.

The Cyber Essentials Certification Programme, which was launched by the e-Crime Bureau, formed part of the activities on the day four of the climax week of the 2019 National Cyber Security Awareness Month dubbed: “Demonstrating Ghana’s Cybersecurity Readiness”, at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Teshie, on Thursday, October 24, 2019.

According to the Deputy Minister, “There is the government perspective of cybersecurity, which has to take into account the concerns of citizens and businesses while also dealing with any national security threats that an internet attack might pose. With many government services and national physical infrastructures increasingly tied to the internet, the disruptive potential of a cyberattack is significant.”

He disclosed that, the Cybercrime Unit within the Ghana Police Service released a report on how cybercrime has cost the country roughly $230 million in the period from 2016 to August 2018. And in 2016 alone, he said, the damages rose to over $35 million, while in 2017 it almost doubled to reach more than $69 million.

“Bank losses rose to 40% of that amount, or $28 million, proving that large financial institutions are a consistent target for hackers looking for ways to steal money. In the period leading from the start of 2018 to August of the same year, when the report was made public, $97 million was already lost, according to the cases reported to the unit,” Mr. Odotei added.

To this end, he asid, the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Communications and the National Cyber Security Centre, has taken measures to increase their vigilance and the capacity for an institutional response against cybercrime.

The Daputy Minister said, among these measures, government has managed to accede to two seminal international cybersecurity instruments, which are the Budapest Convention against Cybercrime and the Malabo Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, in recognition of the need for international cooperation to tackle cybercrime and improve on cybersecurity from best practices around global.

He however noted that, there is therefore the need for cooperation from all stakeholders and businesses to take full advantage of the Cyber Essentials Certification Programme as an investment in improving Ghana’s cybersecurity ecosystem.

Dr. Suzanne Nti, Senior Consultant at the e-Crime Bureau, also said in her welcome address that, the Cyber Essentials Scheme, has been developed to protect organisations irrespective of their size against persistent cyber-threats.

Explaining that, its track record in the UK has encouraged and supported institutions to enhance their capacities, preparedness and commitment to ensure a safe digital environment for business.

She emphasized strongly that, “Being a UK Government initiative, it has provided quality assurance and confidence to clients and stakeholders of institutions as a secured approach to protect investments amidst everyday cyber-threats.

The Cyber Essentials programme is implemented by a scheme which includes a basic assessment of an organisations’ cyber security readiness and measure of their defenses against common forms of cyber-attacks against international standard technical controls.

The scheme is a great way for organisations to implement a risk reduction strategy and build a cyber security awareness culture for current and future generations of organisations.”

Dr. Nti, therefore intimated that, cybercrime is no longer a mere technology problem, but has rather become a people and governance demand which requires Board and Management Teams to step up efforts to curtail the menace.

In his remarks, President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GNCCI), Nana Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso l, said, some businesses in Ghana and across the globe have become victims of one cyber-attack or the other resulting in a loss of huge sums of company funds to these cybercriminals.

“Certainly, the reputational damage that emanate from these cybercrime incidents also lead to loss of trust and assurance by customers and stakeholders,” He bemoaned.

“According to statistics, an estimated 51.2% of the global population are using the internet and much progress was recorded in Africa with a tremendous increase from 2.1% in 2005 to 24% in 2018. Rwanda has made history by setting up Africa’s first smartphone factory with the vision to create markets for these products in other African countries.

Among the business community globally and in Africa, not same investments have been made to protect digital technologies adopted in business.

Small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) as we all know, have been the backbone of Ghana’s economic and social development for the past decades. They are the major driving force for business growth, employment creation, revenue generation and production of goods and services in the country. However, most businesses disregard the extent of their susceptibility to cybercrime,” Nana Dankawoso disclosed.

He also hinted on a recent findings by the Federation of Small Businesses in the UK, small and medium scale enterprises are collectively subject to almost 10,000 cyber-attacks daily. And he added that, it was also recorded that about 40 percent do not regularly update their software, 35 percent do not have installed security software and a similar proportion do not back up data and IT systems.

The findings, he said, demonstrate the sheer scale of the dangers faced by businesses every day in using systems and technology to support business activities.

Nana Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso I, however, underscored the need to take significant steps to safeguard both small, medium and big enterprises across every industry.

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