Julius A. Kuunuor (inset), Chief Fire Officer, Ghana National Fire Service, addressing the participants. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Julius A. Kuunuor (inset), Chief Fire Officer, Ghana National Fire Service, addressing the participants. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

Fire officers schooled on cyber security

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has organised a sensitisation programme to equip fire service staff with the necessary capacity and information to recognise and protect the data of the service against cyber-attacks.

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Held in collaboration with the Cybersecurity Authority (CSA), the day’s training also aimed to foster a culture of awareness and preparedness to address and combat fraudulent characters that clone social media pages and profiles of responsible institutions.

Awareness

Dubbed “Promoting a culture of digital safety”, the sensitisation forum formed part of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, commemorated each year to create awareness of digital security and digital forms of crime, given the ever-evolving global digital trends.

Participants were also equipped with basic cyber security fundamentals, including fake news, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, social engineering, mobile device Security threats, data breaches, distributed denial of service, Malware, advanced persistent threats and insider threats.

In a lively atmosphere, officers shared their experiences on cybersecurity and were equipped with how they could protect and embrace the subject.

Vigilance

The Chief Fire Officer (CFO) of the GNFS, Julius Kuunuor, said as the service increasingly relied on digital systems and information, there was a need for officers to be vigilant in protecting the assets of the service.

He said the digital landscape presented immense opportunities and profound challenges; hence, cybersecurity was a critical frontier they must collectively safeguard.

“We must equip ourselves with the tools and insights necessary to fortify our digital infrastructure against potential threats and vulnerabilities,” he said.

The participants

The participants

The symposium, he said, represented a pivotal opportunity for officers to learn, exchange ideas and develop a proactive approach towards cybersecurity and added: “With the experts, CSA will guide us towards a better understanding of the dynamics of cyber threats and strategies for mitigating the risks”.

He also expressed the hope that the training would help to address fraudulent activities on social media and the online portal criminals use to defraud unsuspecting members of the public and to ensure sanity in cyberspace.

Readying for challenges

CFO Kuunor said as the service continued to innovate and incorporate new technologies into safety and environmental management, it was necessary to prepare the service for emerging challenges such as cyber security and threats to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The Director of Research and Information, Technology and Communications of GNFS, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Semekor Kwaku Fiadzo, said the programme was necessary as the digital world kept permeating every facet of firefighting, from developments in self-contained breathing equipment (SCBA) to essential software that could be accessed straight from fire vehicles.

He said Cyberattacks had the power to destroy technological infrastructure and put firefighters' ability to save lives and property in danger; hence, a need for officers to focus on cybersecurity to keep the public safe.

Social media

In his presentation as the lead facilitator, the Deputy Manager of the Computer Emergency Response Team of the CSA, Joseph Antwi Attoh, advised the officers to limit access to sensitive portals with public Wi-Fi.

In helping them navigate the complexities of managing the various social media accounts, he entreated the officers to only create accounts with trusted sites and desist from using weak passwords and the same passwords for multiple accounts.

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