Ghana Takes on Cyber Crime
Ghana didn’t just celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October; it took action.
The National Information Technology Agency (NITA) opened a Security Operations Centre (SOC) to fight cyber crime and increase protection for government ministries, businesses and the public.
“As we continue to digitize, we need to take our cyber security seriously,” Minister of Communications Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said at the launch on October 23.
The SOC will offer network monitoring to help the government spot threats as soon as they occur.
“With advanced analytical and correlation technology to recognize threats, the SOC will aid in the identification of patterns and prioritization of problems for optimized resource and threat management,” Owusu-Ekuful said.
Ghana is one of the continent’s most stable democracies. According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Ghana had the world’s fastest growing economy in 2019 with a growth rate of 8.8%. The United Nations recognized it as the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to cut extreme poverty in half.
Increased demand for internet connectivity has made it more important to secure data and technology because Ghana has seen a dramatic rise in cyber crime. The country’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported fraud losses of $9.8 million in 2018 and $105 million in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic also has contributed to the rise of cyber crime. In August, Interpol warned that criminals were shifting their targets from individuals or small businesses to major corporations, governments and critical infrastructure.
“With organizations and businesses rapidly deploying remote systems and networks to support staff working from home, criminals are also taking advantage of increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits and cause disruption,” according to Interpol.
By bringing together security analysts, ethical hackers and the latest technology, Ghana’s new SOC is expected to improve coordination between cyber crime units.
NCSC head Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako said the new facility will work closely with his department’s computer emergency response teams (CERTs).
“Between January and August of this year alone, more than 5,000 residents made contact with the NCSC through the national CERT for guidance and advice in addressing cyber security issues, of which most of them involved online fraud,” he said at the SOC launch.
“The establishment of a Security Operations Centre at the National Information Technology Agency marks another milestone of the government’s strategic intervention to scale up our cyber security readiness.”