Cyber security awareness month launched
The National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NSCAM) has been launched to raise awareness of digital security and empower people to protect their personal data from digital forms of crime in view of the ever-evolving global digital trends.
The event, launched at the Ministry of Information by a Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ama Pomaa Boateng, in Accra yesterday, will be held from October 1 to 31, 2023.
It is on the theme: “Promoting a Culture of Digital Safety”.
In an address read on her behalf, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said the rapid advancement of digital technologies had transformed the way people lived, worked and interacted as the digital age brought numerous opportunities and so were the risks to individuals, organisations and societies.
“Cyber threats, such as cyber bullying, privacy breaches, misinformation and disinformation have become prevalent and of urgent concern. Ghana is no exception to these risks, particularly as the country scales up connectivity and encourages e-Commerce activities as part of the government’s digitalisation agenda.
She said the Groupe Special Mobile Association’s Connectivity Index 2023 Report, which measured the performance of 170 countries against the critical enablers of mobile internet adoption, showed that Ghana was ranked third in Africa with a score of 51.4 per cent marking a significant progress in its internet penetration in the last five years.
“The same report highlights Ghana’s score of 86.69 per cent in Online Security (a key dimension of the index), which is consistent with the country’s score on the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index. Also, Ghana's internet access rate in 2023 stands at 23.05 million, representing 68.2 per cent of the population.
“Of this number, 6.6 million (19.5 per cent) are active social media users contributing to the country's 13th place in the world on the list of countries that spend substantial amount of time on the internet,” she said and added that “These developments have contributed to the country’s exposure to high-risk cyber threats such as Romance Scam, Phishing, Advance Fee Fraud, Online Bullying, Sextortion, and Online Impersonation”.
As a key component of the NCSAM, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the launch aimed to address those worrying concerns by promoting cybersecurity awareness, in collaboration with government officials, private sector players, business executives, cybersecurity professionals, educationists, representatives from civil society organisations and the media.
The Director General of the Cyber Security Authority, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, said the NCSAM “is a period dedicated to awareness creation activities, educating and conscientising organisations and the wider Ghanaian public on all the opportunities and threats of the cyberspace and to encourage a more secure usage of online resources for a safer digital Ghana”.
He said recent statistics indicated that more than 62 per cent (4.95 billion) of the world’s population had access to the internet and that in Ghana internet penetration had increased exponentially from 2.31 million in 2012 to 17 million users in 2022, representing 53 per cent of the population.
“We expect the media launch to set in motion a month-long national cybersecurity awareness creation that will assemble public and private sector players, cybersecurity professionals, the academia, and representatives from civil society organisations, in preparation for the NCSAM as we seek to encourage every Ghanaian to stay digitally alert,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, said cyber security was something that everyone needed to be involved in.
The President of the Ghana Association of Banks, John Awuah, said as banks, a lot of investments had taken place to ensure that customers could transact safely on the channels that had been created.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, pledged his outfit’s support to the NCSAM to enhance the country’s cyber security practices.
On behalf of the Board of the Cyber Security Authority, Carl Sackey said the theme for the NCSAM underlined the necessity of the collective action of Ghanaians to safeguard the country’s digital assets, intellectual property and the private information of citizens.
In an addressed on his behalf, the President of ISACA), Accra Chapter, Daniel Gyampo, said in today’s interconnected world, the significance of cyber security could not be overstated.
Representing the Joint Cyber Security Committee, Col. Dr Tim Ba-Taa-Banah, appealed to ministries, departments and agencies and civil society to allow their staff to be actively involved in the NCSAM.
The awareness month was started in 2004 by the US Department of Homeland Security to bring cybersecurity awareness to Americans.
Since then, it has evolved into a collaborative event to include other government entities and experts across the world, including Ghana.