Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has announced that government is building a resilient digital ecosystem and a safer cyber security space to crack down on cyber-criminal activities in the country’s cyber space.
Dr Bawumia in a keynote address delivered through the Member of Parliament for Effia, Joseph Cudjoe, at the launch this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in Accra, called for collective security to ensure mutual benefits of the digital space to all users.
He called on the public to relay relevant information to the appropriate authorities for cybercrime prevention and investigations.
According to him, the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the established sectoral CERTs are available for incident response and coordination, and encouraged businesses and government organisations to take advantage of them.
Cybersecurity development, Dr Bawumia said, is a shared responsibility, adding that it is enhancing understanding of the provisions of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) and building synergies among all relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance with them is absolutely critical.
In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said, new and emerging digital technologies and trends, such as Fifth Generation (5G) networks, Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Mobile Web Services, Internet of Things (IoT) and Social Media, are radically changing the business landscape and reshaping the nature of work and business operations.
To this end, he stressed the need for robust systems with relevant laws, directives and guidelines to secure digital ecosystem, the reason for which government took a step to pass Act 1038.
“Creating greater awareness of the law and the relevance of cybersecurity regulations among children, the public, businesses and government, whilst highlighting the need for public-private sector cooperation, must be paramount and this awareness month is important to ensure that everyone is involved in cybersecurity activities to ensure a safer digital Ghana,” he stated.
He noted that the growing desire to accelerate inclusive growth through greater efficiency, transparency and accountability in the delivery of public services had led to the implementation of national flagship digitalisation projects.
The projects, he said, include Mobile Money Interoperability, the Digital Property Addressing System, Universal QR Code Payment System (GhQR), National Identification System, the Ghana.gov payment infrastructure, the Paperless Port System, e-Justice System, e-Procurement among others.
Dr Bawumia said the unique identification number for each citizen provides Ghana with a linked national database, as the GhanaCard is currently linked to Tax Identification Number, National Health Insurance Cards, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Passports and Sim Cards.
This, he noted, provides seamless identification of all individuals, and promotes secure transactions.
Commenting on the success of the Digital Property Addressing System, the Vice-President said it had solved the problem of lack of functional address systems in the country by leveraging GPS technology to implement a digital address system that captures every square inch of land.
“We can now identify every person and every property in this country, and very soon, it will be difficult for criminals to hide behind the anonymity of technology to defraud anyone.
“Notwithstanding these strides, we are keenly aware that the dependence on digitalisation to transform our economy comes with increased risk of cyber threats and attacks,” he said.
The Vice-President reiterated the government’s commitment to putting in place the needed structure to deal with cybercrimes that keep arising as a result of increasing digital connectivity.
“That is why in 2017, we set up the National Cyber Security Secretariat, which, in three short years, has now evolved into the Cyber Security Authority following the passage of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038),” he said.
He urged businesses and individuals to develop the needed cybersecurity consciousness to help mitigate cybercrimes, which according to statistics, are caused by human actions in about 90 percent of the cases.
Dr Bawumia added that the Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) constitutes assets, either real or virtual, networks, systems, processes, information and functions that are so vital to the nation that their incapacity or destruction would have a devastating impact on national security, the economy, public health and safety.
He disclosed that about 13 sectors of the economy such as National Security and Intelligence, Banking and Finance, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Energy, Transport, Water, Health, Government, Emergency Services, Food and Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining and Education had so far been designated as CII.