28.05.2013 Technology

Ghana, ITU sign pact to sageguard cyberspace

By Daily Graphic
Mr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of CommunicationMr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communication
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The Ministry of Communication has signed an agreement with International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to establish a national Computer Incident Response Team aimed at strengthening its ability to drastically mitigate cyber security incidents.

The six-month project will provide Ghana with the necessary capacity and technical capabilities to build a national point of contact to respond in an effective manner to cybercrimes and cyber-attacks.

The Minister of Communications, Mr Edward Omane-Boamah, signed for Ghana while Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau initialled for the ITU at the just-ended 2013 UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

WSIS Forum was held 10 years after the Geneva Phase of WSIS, which took place in 2003.

The High Level Dialogue at the WSIS Forum on “Securing cyberspace in a borderless world: Vision 2015 and Beyond” focused on future strategies and actions needed for harmonised international cooperation.

Reports from the summit indicate that Cyber security took centre stage in many of the discussions.

“This project demonstrates the commitment of Ghana to unleash the full potential of ICT by ensuring security in cyberspace and building trust and confidence in the use of the Internet,” Mr Omane Boamah.

Mr Brahima Sanou on his part noted that; "This agreement will enable Ghana to join the global network that we are building to secure cyberspace,”.

According to him, “Ghana will then become part of the solution, curbing potential cyber threats that are currently emanating from sources in Africa.”

Citing annual losses of more than USD 100 billion being caused by cybercrime, the ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said at one of the plenaries that, “In the security business, trust is key, and if we do not start to develop such a culture of trust, there will be no way that the cyber world can ever become truly safe and secure.”

Global initiatives within the framework of ITU's Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), such as Child Online Protection (COP) and the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) were reviewed.

The ITU-IMPACT Partners' Meeting and COP Partners' Meeting confirmed the commitment in the private sector and among civil society leaders to work together with governments and agreed on developing future activities and projects.

Approaching the 10-year anniversary of the Tunis Phase of WSIS, which took place in 2005, the Forum meetings took stock of progress made on the outcomes – Action Lines – of the Summit.

Discussions at the Facilitation Meeting on Action Line C5, which accorded ITU the responsibility for strengthening cybersecurity, recognized the importance of building confidence in the use of ICTs in an increasingly networked society and agreed to extend the dialogue beyond the target date of 2015.

An important landmark was reached with ITU and ABI Research, a market intelligence company specialising in technology, signing an agreement to establish a Global Cybersecurity Index designed to facilitate information sharing on cyberthreats among ITU Member States.

In line with an agreement made in 2011 with Symantec, the network security company, ITU released the Internet Security Threat Report which presents Symantec data and analysis on the threat landscape and reaches new milestones in the fight against cyber threats.

ITU's ongoing commitment to publish Symantec security reports aims to appraise Member States of rising threats in cyberspace, in order to create a safer and more secure environment for all users – governments and businesses and, most significantly, children and youth.

With the aim of enhancing child online safety, ITU and the Walt Disney Company are joining forces to develop workshops to Train-the-Trainer during the Be Safe, Be Smart track of the Global Youth Summit that will take place between September 9, 2013 and September 11, 2013 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

In a related development, a workshop organized by ITU and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) on the establishment of COP National Framework, emphasized that child protection is not only a matter of safeguarding children's rights but is a core human development category in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

ITU and CTO have established COP National Frameworks in six African Countries: Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

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