‘Devise Roadmap To Tackle Ghana’s Cyber Crimes’

Dr Thomas Mensah

GHANAIAN FIBRE optics inventor and chairman of the Silicon Valley of Ghana, Dr. Thomas Mensah, says the time is ripe for Ghana to design a ‘definite roadmap’ to tackle and address issues of crimes in the cyber space.

Speaking at the 10th anniversary of e-Crime Bureau, a one-stop cyber security and investigation firm in Accra, Dr. Mensah said “Our world today is very different from what it was 10 years ago.”

“As recent as two years ago, remote working due to Covid-19 and the upsurge in the use of digital platform to conduct business necessitated by the pandemic in most part of the world, has made us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and incidents,” he pointed out

He noted that Ghana, in 2011, had an internet penetration rate of only 8.4 percent, and said the figure had, however, grown exponentially to 50 percent in 2021.

“Over 15.7 million Ghanaians are connected to the internet and the impact of cyber security experts is growing rapidly,” he said.

Dr. Mensah continued, “Reports suggest, as of January 2021, there were 8.2 million active social media users in Ghana and data from Bank of Ghana revealed that the total value of mobile phone transactions in the country increased to GH¢67.9 billion in February 2021 from only GH¢30.1 billion in February 2020.”

He indicated that the increase represented 37.8% growth in mobile money transactions, and added that “this is highly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions which drove many businesses to deploy e-commerce products and platforms.”

“The upsurge in these mobile money transactions has a fraud-related challenge,” he noted and added this accounted for the passage of the Cyber Security Act 2020, which establishes the Cyber Security Authority with the mandate to protect the critical information infrastructure of the country, regulate cyber security activities, provide protection for children on the internet and develop Ghana’ cyber security ecosystem.”

“Even though I am one of the four global inventors of fibre optics which make the internet work, I want to let you know that I didn’t anticipate electricity can use it; I didn’t anticipate somebody would use it to commit crimes and steal money from people’s bank account.

“Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, as part of the fight against mobile money fraud, will launch a nationalism card registration exercise across the country from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021,” the IT consultant reiterated.

Dr. Mensah revealed that many institutions in Ghana lacked forensic ICT infrastructure and systems to identify and detect incidents of cyber-attacks when they occur.

A member of the e-Crime Bureau board, Dr. Kwame Antwi Boasiako, said the cyber security firm had since 2011, been providing “unparalleled cyber security, digital forensics and other investigation related consultancy services for organisations across various industries.

These, he said, included banks, mining companies, security and law enforcement agencies, telecommunications companies, insurance as well as manufacturing firms.

BY Ernest Kofi Adu