Ghana must respond to cyber threats

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Mr Dickson Osei-Bonsu, Chief Legal Advisor at the National Security Council Secretariat, on Wednesday underscored the need for concerted efforts to coordinate appropriate responses to cyber threats in Ghana.

He noted that although multiple legal instruments provided policy guidance for improving cybersecurity or responding to cybercrime, gaps in responsibilities manacled the national effort for unified direction.

He said: “the nature of the cyber threats that confront Ghana, the nature of cyber governance challenges, the nature of her desired end-state, her intermediate objectives and her actionable causes of action, had been captured in the Security Governance Initiative / Joint Country Action Plan (the JCAP)”.

JCAP is a public document signed by the Government of Ghana on February 18, 2016, which identified cybersecurity and cybercrime as one of the pressing concerns of the Government.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said this in his keynote address at the Third Civil Society Cybersecurity Workshop and Forum on civil society organizations (CSOs) Coalition on Cyber Security in Accra.

The event on the theme: “Making Our National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy Citizen-Centric,” was organised and hosted by ACDRO in partnership with Global Partners Digital (GPD), a CSO based in the United Kingdom.

The workshop aimed at exposing CSOs and other non- governmental stakeholders to the new cybersecurity policy and strategy and to explore practical ways in which CSOs can contribute to its implementation.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said; “I will take this opportunity to commend Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako and his team at the National Cyber Security Center, within the Ministry of Communications on how far they have advanced in the right direction”.

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The Chief Legal Advisor said between 2017 and 2019 many of the intermediate objectives stipulated in the JCAP had been achieved, and dedicated funding was assigned in the 2020 budget for cybersecurity – providing fertile soil for some initiatives.

Mr Osei-Bonsu, who is also the National Coordinator of Security Governance Initiative said these include, the digital address system, the paperless ports, e-governance, national identification system and mobile money interoperability.

He said the draft National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy simultaneously advance Ghana’s obligations under the United Nation’s Ninth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which requires amongst other things, the development of resilient ICT infrastructure towards economic development.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said on an occasion such as this, all must ponder on the role of CSOs in Cyberspace, saying, stakeholders must ask how best CSOs could contribute in coalition-building Global, Regional and National capacity.

“In the age of instant messaging where ‘fake news’ and damaging content spreads at a viral rate, you as CSOs have a duty to discover your voice so we can uphold rule of law in cyberspace”, he added.

Mr Eric Akumiah, Deputy Executive Director of ACDRO, said the goal of Ghana’s cybersecurity policy was to build a resilient digital ecosystem, secure digital infrastructure, develop national capacity, deter cybercrime and to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation.

He said; ‘building a resilient digital ecosystem’, among the objectives was that Ghana would pursue, invest and test its ability to prepare for major attacks in order to build confidence in the entire cybersecurity ecosystem.

He noted that also in achieving cyber resilience, effective coordination is key; Ghana would build an incident response ecosystem that is inclusive, proactive, interactive, effective trusted and responsive to our national incident response needs.

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