The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA)  welcomes the establishment of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) hosted by the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation.

FOSDA participated in the official  Launch of the NCSAM on Monday, 3rd October 2022 in Accra under the theme, “Regulating Cybersecurity: A Public-Private Sector Collaborative Approach”Regulating the cyber space is crucial, not just for cyber fraud and child protection, but also for Ghana’s quest to prevent violent extremism and terrorist attacks. The internet is currently one of the most used means for radicalisation of young people by extremist, terrorist and criminal groups. Security focused regulation of that space will go a long way to protect the youth. 

According to the Cyber Security Authority, the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) aims to enhance the public-private sector’s knowledge of cybersecurity regulations among other things. Another aim is to create awareness on Ghana’s cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) and to promote relevance of the regulations especially among children, the public, businesses and government.  It was implied by the minister of National Security that these objectives are a step in the right direction to help mitigate criminal activities within the cyber space like drug trafficking, child pornography, cyber fraud, and terrorist activities.

The threat of extremist attack on Ghana get worse by the day. Just in the first quarter of this year, the West African sub-region recorded over 160 terror attacks. Ghana’s neighbouring countries Togo, Burkina Faso and Niger have had attacks related to violent extremism and terrorism. In Togo, about 10 soldiers were killed in May during such attacks. In this current rage of extremist and terrorist attacks within the West African sub-region, FOSDA has been sensitizing her beneficiaries, stakeholders and partners on the prevalence of violent extremism in Ghana. We have been urging the government to sensitize the people of Ghana on violent extremism and terrorism especially at the grassroot level to prevent such activities from spilling over into the country.

The Minister for National Security, Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah stated that an objective of the launch of NCSAM was to “safeguard the security of our nation”. Awareness being the first step to mitigating cyber-attacks.

Hon. Ama Pomaa Boateng informed the audience during her remarks that according to latest known reports, “about 90% of cyber-attacks were attributed to human error”. This is based on the fact that, Most people use the internet and technology daily. Terrorist and violent extremists groups are known to recruit young people through propaganda narratives via the Internet. A clear example is the use of an online radical forum to recruit a Ghanaian student into ISIS back in 2015. These violent groups are also known to cause fear and panic in the public by spreading all sorts of information online.

This alludes to the fact that awareness and good internet practices have a key role in reducing cyber threats and attacks. Giving attention to the words of Dr. Albert Antwi-Bosiako to “be mindful of what we post on the internet”.

The launch also witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rwanda and Mozambique to ensure an international cooperation with these African countries to address the challenges of cyber security by sharing knowledge.

According to the Deputy Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, the ministry together with the CSA had found some priority areas aside ‘awareness creation’ that also needed to be looked at. One of these areas was the licensing of cybersecurity service providers and the accreditation of cybersecurity establishments and practitioners. This strategy also falls directly under UNESCO’s effective response to preventing violent extremism. This key dimension which is ‘Procedures’ allows licensed and accredited providers work with best industry practices in compliance with laws to safeguard Ghana’s cyber space. This is especially crucial now, in the post COVID-19 era as more and more people are working online and conducting businesses online.

FOSDA believes that with proper execution and intentional activities, the establishment of the NCSAM is needed to build capacity for cyber resilience, through the inclusion of every citizen especially at the grassroot level for the safety and well-being of all. As an organisation that is committed to advancing human security, we are dedicated to create awareness on cybersecurity this month to ensure the safety and security of people online because people use internet and technology daily.

Theodora W. Anti

Executive Director

Contact No. 0205336268