Financial Sector; Prime Target For Cyber-Attacks — Ursula Warns
Madam Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications, has said the financial sector continues to be the prime target of cyber-attacks in the country amidst COVID-19.
She said since the outbreak of COVID-19, most corporate institutions had adopted online methods of doing work to avoid the spread of the virus in workplaces.
In view of this, she said most cyber criminals had taken interest to attack mainly financial institutions.
"A report by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service has indicated that Ghana lost $105 million and $9.8 million to cybercrime in 2018 and 2019, respectively," she said.
She said this in a speech delivered on her behalf by Mr Alexander K. K. Abban, Deputy Minister of Communication at a forum with industry players on the impact of COVID-19 on the private sector.
She said as part of measures to combat cybercrime in the financial sector, the Bank of Ghana in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a Cyber and Information Security Directive to charge financial sector institutions to implement stringent cybersecurity framework and Information Security protocols and procedures to ensure cyber-resilience within the banking and finance sector.
She said as Government enables cybersecurity development by implementation of strategic initiatives to ensure the growth in expertise and knowledge build-up in the private sector, the actual operationalisation of cybersecurity was dependent on the private sector to protect the critical information infrastructure of the nation.
She called on all industry players to engage in the conversation to proffer solutions to ensure security and resilience of organisational systems.
Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, National Cybersecurity Advisor, Ghana said assessment conducted by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) has shown that major corporations, government and critical infrastructure had become major targets for cybercriminals.
He said as more people employed the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), businesses and Government institutions, must be mindful of the possible cyber-threats that accompany the increased use of the digital space.
He advised that as corporate entities, the core of their operations, thrived on the shoulders of technology infrastructure and it was imperative to keep the safety and security of systems paramount.
"It is salient that organizations improve upon their cybersecurity posture to make their systems more resilient to cyber-attacks and, build the capacity of their staff in the area of cybersecurity," he said.
Additionally, he said two critical interventions were introduced by government to improve cybersecurity development in the private sector which included the revision of Ghana's National Cybersecurity Policy & Strategy and the Introduction of the Cybersecurity Bill.
"And also the Ministry of Communications, through the National Cyber Security Centre would in 2021, commence a public-private sector partnership on cybersecurity with the World Economic Forum and this initiative would strengthen the collaboration between the government and the private sector in improving our nation's cybersecurity readiness," he said.
Mr C.K Bruce, Chief Executive Officer, Innovare said it was important to maintain Cybersecurity compliance in institutions to ensure safety.
He said teleworking had become the new normal and the need for control to ensure productivity and safety online.
He said a proper whistle blowing structure was important to ensure good feedback and enforce compliance of staff.
He said social engineering, hacking amongst other methods formed part of mechanisms used by cyber fraudsters.