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Fighting cyber attacks-Collaborative efforts required

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Prof. Godfried Williams, CEO, Intellas
Prof. Godfried Williams, CEO, Intellas

A cyber-attack is an assault launched by cyber-criminals using one or more computers against a single or multiple computers or networks. It can maliciously disable computers, steal data or use a breached computer as a launch point for other attacks. Cyber-criminals use a variety of methods to launch a cyber-attack, including: Malware; Phishing; Ransomware and Denial of Service.

It is known that businesses and individuals cannot defend themselves from threats they do not understand but understanding the method of delivery will help clarify the role of different security controls required to combat the common cyber-attacks and threats many face in modern times.

Businesses are crippling in many ways because of their exposure to technology, particularly with the advent of COVID-19 which has forced many to use the internet to transact business. There are experts who understand the issues and that is why they must get closer.

To protect businesses from the threat, an International Expert into Information Security, Professor Godfried Williams, has called for strong collaboration between indigenous businesses and experts in the cyber space to create an enabling environment that will help them guard against vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks.

He explained that the collaboration should precede the creation of a robust cyber-security ecosystem that thrived on consistent engagements among relevant stakeholders and championed by the Cyber Security Authority (CSA).

He said recent instances of attacks demonstrated the necessity for industry-wide collaboration to fight against the threats.

“To be able to respond to cyber-attacks properly, the CSA must engage with other relevant stakeholders in the cyber space. The authority cannot be exclusive in its competencies to protect the country and its businesses against cyber threat which are often wide spread,” Prof. Williams who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Intellas, an IBM Business Partner, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on February 24, 2022.

The workshop

Prof. Williams spoke to the paper at the maiden edition of the Cyber-security Boardroom Series (CBS) which brought together senior executives and CEOs from the financial and oil sectors of the economy.

The CBS exposed participants to cyber risks and threats faced by organisations daily.

On the theme ‘The Cyberspace. How prepared is your organisation?’, the workshop created a platform for the participants to build their competencies on cyber related issues.

It is an initiative of Intellas, an IBM Business Partner and go-to company that specialises in the application of artificial intelligence to cyber security, digital forensics and big data analytics.

Growing threat

Prof. Williams said with the growing threat of cyber-attacks, it had never been more pressing for businesses to consistently seek help on the need to build arsenals against future attacks.

Towards that, he said the country needed to encourage a peer review and engagement process in order to form a strong alliance against the attackers.

“To be able to respond to cyber-attacks properly, the Cyber Security Authority must engage with other stakeholders in the cyber space because it is dynamic and its nature comprises many things. To build up against the attacks, we need to look at critical infrastructure, communication networks, data, process and procedures, human capacities and intelligence,” he said.

Leadership and oversight

Prof. Williams said cyber-security was a board level responsibility that required the leadership and oversight of senior executives in any organisation.

He said that was why Intellas was providing participating executives with board level tools that were critical to mitigate against cyber-security threats, risks and attacks.

Cyber-security plan

The Communication Expert and Member of the Global Intellas Team, Nana Efua Rockson, stated that every organisation needed to develop a comprehensive cyber-security plan to guard against future attacks, “because if the attacks should happen and you are not prepared, it may bring some huge damage to the reputation of the organisation.”

Way forward

Cyber-security is a threat to all organisations as long as they are connected to the internet.

It is something all need to watch and prevent because the consequences of a cyber-security attack is costly and reputation damaging.

Against this background, the call for collaboration is one in the right direction. It is an area the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation can also champion as part of a grand effort to keep businesses safe.