In the midst of terrorism threats and increasing cyber crimes in the country, the government and private companies have been urged to take steps to secure Ghana’s cyberspace.
Cybercrimes in Ghana have jumped significantly from 116 in 2016 to 412 in 2017 and further to 558 in 2018, sources at the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Ghana Police Service have indicated.
The crimes have not only increased in numbers but in sophistication too.
On Thursday this week, it was reported that an international gang of cyber criminals stole $100 million from 40,000 customers. This is the scale of the cybersecurity challenges facing countries like Ghana.
Aventura Technologies Ghana, local representatives of American security giants Aventura Technologies, has, therefore, partnered Israeli cybersecurity firm, TripleCyber to launch the best available cybersecurity tools and technology in Ghana.
The two companies also hope to train young Ghanaians to be exceptionally technologically savvy, ensuring a transfer of knowledge.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership agreement in Accra, the Chief Executive of Aventura Technologies Ghana, Mr Emmanuel S. Asiedu, said, more than just provide the most robust, cost-effective cybersecurity solutions, the partnership is designed to create a vast pool of local talent.
The talents will be trained and primed to maintain and build on the technology required to effectively guarantee Ghana’s cybersecurity. He said the potential of the partnership to create jobs and produce Ghanaian experts in cybersecurity who will be exported to other African countries is enormous.
Mr Asiedu said he was excited that a key component of the agreement is to capacitate the Ghanaian so that foreigners will not need to have access to the country’s cybersecurity systems. “We do not want to open ourselves up in the future to other nationals to have access to our sensitive data and information under the guise of providing us with cybersecurity”, he said.
The Council Chair of Ghana Telecom University who is also a Board member of Aventura, Prof. K.O. Boateng said the training being proposed by Aventura and TripleCyber would be impossible unless the country took Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics (STEM).
He said government’s aggressive digitisation drive only emphasised the need for a corresponding robust technology to fight cybercrimes. His views chimed perfectly with those expressed in December last year by Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful that “our digitisation efforts and the introduction of a number of e-services in Ghana have exposed the country and people to possible cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities.”
Prof. Boateng said once the state has seen the need to have police officers to fight physical crimes, “you need cybersecurity experts and technologies to fight cybercrime and that Aventura and TripleCyber are going to help us do.”
“There should be people manning our digital network systems 24 hours daily so that these experts can quickly analyse, evaluate and take action on any potential threats,” he added. The Chief Executive of TripleCyber, Nadav Tavor, said criminals are wreaking havoc on many organisations because many are turning a blind eye to cyber risks.
And yet the risks, he argued, posed by cyber attackers are far more dangerous than people realise. With experience in providing cybersecurity solutions to telecom companies, service providers, financial and utility companies, TripleCyber, Mr Tavor said, had carved a niche for itself in the area. “TripleCyber analysis and correlation engine is designed to detect critical cyber threats from the aggregation and analysis of a series of alerts that would be considered low-profile and ignored by other technologies.
Tavor said the system is designed to find attackers even before they touch the network, and “we use penetration test in order to understand where there are weaknesses and vulnerabilities.” He said the partnership with Aventura Ghana would impact local capability for governmental and private sector, local education and training, part of TripleCyber global intelligence and operations network.
A lecturer at the Ghana Telecom University College (GTUC), Dr Kester Quist-Aphetsi, said Ghana has to learn from the experience of Israel which took cybersecurity education seriously and has thus become a superpower in the field.
He said the fact that Ghana ranks high in cyber fraud should justify consistent investment in training on cybersecurity “so that we can track the cybercriminals.” “We have to know who people are sending money to, we have to track them, know where and who they are connecting to,” the lecturer stressed.
Dr Quist-Aphetsi said the partnership and training model being unveiled would help produce persons who can maintain, adapt, and manage new technology in the cyberspace. “Ghana can take the lead and acquire technology and ensure when it comes to superiority of information, we stand tall among our neighbours,” he said.