The Chief Information Security Officer of Stanbic Bank, Albert Yirenchi Danquah, has advised Ghanaians to demand the protection of their information from service providers because no one is immune to the devastating effects of cyberattacks.
Mr. Yirenchi Danquah said this at a public symposium organized by the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana in partnership with digiCAP and the University of Cape Coast.
According to him, the chances of online data breaches and cybercrimes are common due to the vast number of Ghanaians with online presence.
“About 50 per cent of Ghanaians are online doing one thing or the other. Juxtapose this with the fact that according to Kaspersky(cybermap.kaspersky.com/), Ghana was the 78th most attacked country in the world relative to cyberattacks (as at August 4, 2021. Kaspersky’s cybermap shows real-time attacks on countries and rank same as per the current activities). This means people are busy in our cyber space and chances are that we are all potential targets,” Mr. Yirenchi Danquah said.
He further noted that in Ghana and in the West African Sub-Region, the motivation for cyberattacks is usually financial, making financial institutions the primary target for cyberattacks.
Mr. Yirenchi Danquah noted that “Even though we may not hear frequently of reports of cyberattacks, they happen all the time, particularly with people trying to defraud others using digital means. I am sure we have all received calls from strange numbers trying to defraud us. That is how common cases of cybercrimes have become now”.
Albert Yirenchii Danquah advised government to consider prioritizing cybersecurity and funding for the execution of Ghana’s national cybersecurity strategy while at the same time building resilience and the foundational capability to protect national assets due to their vulnerability to cyberattacks. He also encouraged international cooperation with other countries to help minimize the incidence of cyberattacks.
“A lot is happening to push cybersecurity to the fore. This is evident in the passing of the Data Protection Act passed in 2012 and the Cybersecurity Act in 2020. The Bank of Ghana has also been very proactive in making sure that the financial sector is protected from cyberattacks. There is however a lot more to be done on both the national and individual level to make us more secure,” he added.
For the citizenry, he advised that identity theft is on the rise and individuals should do their best to safeguard their Personally Identifiable Information (PII). PII is information that, when used alone or with other relevant data, can identify an individual. This may include full name, email address, date of birth, ID number etc.
This information in the hands of a fraudster could lead to impersonation. “Imagine the police showing up at your door for a crime you did not commit just because a “fake ID” bearing your details was found at the crime scene. We should demand adequate security of our PII from service providers who request same,” he said.
The symposium, which was held under the theme “State Ghana’s Cybersecurity: Should we be Concerned?”, brought together key players from industry, academia and government to deliberate on Ghana’s cybersecurity and measure to be taken to ensure that Ghanaians are protected.
Other panellists included Jacqueline Hanson-Kotei, Senior Manager, Enterprise Information Security & Governance, MTN Ghana, Paul K. Arhin Jr., Lecturer, Computer Science Department, University of Cape Coast and Dr. Quist Aphesti Kester, Senior Lecturer at the Ghana Communication Technology University.