President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged a concerted effort to protect Ghana’s cyber architecture, saying the West African nation is not immune to cyber-attacks as is being witnessed across the world.
The President made the observation in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery at the closing ceremony of the 2019 Cybersecurity Month in Accra.
In his speech, the President made references to recent cyber attacks in the city of Baltimore, United States of America; Bulgaria, in Europe, and Johannesburg in South Africa, and observed the devastations caused to businesses and citizens due to the attacks.
According to him, “we are not immune to these attacks and our reliance of ICT moving forward will leave our Critical National Information Infrastructure susceptible to attacks if precautionary measures are not instituted.”
He called for key measures already put in place by his administration to be sustained, saying that all these measures are necessary because according to the World Economic Forum, economic loss due to cybercrime is predicted to reach $3 trillion by 2020 and 74% of the world’s businesses can expect to be hacked in the coming year.
Indeed, he noted, examples of such attacks abound as countries around the world experience incidents of cybercrime.
For the second time in just over a year, the city of Baltimore in the United States, was hit by a ransomware attack, affecting its computer network and forcing officials to shut down a majority of its computer servers as a precaution, he added.
The President explained that in July this year, Bulgaria, a country with a population of 7 million became the target of a cybercrime that led to the biggest breach in its history, compromising the systems of its National Revenue Authority and leaking the National Identification Numbers of 5 million adult citizens.
“This in turn released records on revenues, tax, and social security payments dating as far back as 2007. News of such incidents are not endemic to Europe and the Americas alone,” he said.
He added that right here on the African continent, residents in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, were left in the dark for hours after the city’s power company got attacked by a ransomware virus which prevented prepaid customers from buying electricity units, uploading invoices when making payments or accessing the City’s official power website.
These attacks, according to him, have serious implications on national security as the development of ICT in the world’s digitally driven economies has created problems that intrinsically relates to national security.
The use of the internet and cyberspace for criminal offending including the use of ICTs for terrorist communications, the use of darkweb to facilitate drug trade and illicit sales of weapons, the use of internet for human trafficking based recruitment as well as other malicious use of ICT are critical concerns to the security and stability of the economic, social and political order, globally, according to Mr. Akufo-AddoAddo.
To secure Ghana’s digital journey therefore, he said, his Government has tasked the National Cyber Security Centre, through the Ministry of Communications, to ensure the security of Ghana’s digital space.
” I am reliably informed, that Ghana’s National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) have been reviewed to reflect current cybersecurity developments and are consistent with international best practices. The NCPS, which covers a 5 year period, will provide the national direction towards enhancing cybersecurity in Ghana,” he said.
He added that a priority area of this Policy and Strategy is capacity Building and awareness creation which will build on what the Ministry of Communications begun about two and half years ago.
Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, called for the scaling up of cybersecurity awareness and investment in Ghana.
The move, she said, is critical to protecting the country’s cyber architecture and citizens.
She expressed the hope that in the 2020 Budget, the Finance Minister would make a concrete statement about the Cybersecurity Fund.
The National Cybersecurity Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, in his welcome remarks, observed that the next steps of Ghana’s cybersecurity journey will not be complete without addressing the issue of financing.
According to him, across the developed and developing world, states have established sustainable financing mechanisms to fund their cybersecurity development.
He revealed that the United Kingdom (UK) was investing about £ 1.9 billion, starting from 2016 to 2021 to fund its national cybersecurity strategy.
Nigeria, he said, has introduced a levy on electronic transactions, representing 0.005 percent of all electronic transmission, to fund its Cybersecurity.
“Togo, has established a sovereign cybersecurity fund with contributions from telecommunication service operators based on their annual revenue,” he said.
Private Varsities Want Autonomy
The Private Universities Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) has called on government to make private universities autonomous.
At the handover ceremony of the newly elected executives of PUSAG, which was under the theme: “Academic Freedom: Ensuring the Autonomous and Effective Running of Private Universities,” the Minister of State for Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, gave an assurance that the autonomy issue was being looked at by Parliament.
He said government was determined to take measures to rule out the outmoded affiliation system.
He indicated that government was making plans to remove all barriers that limit the ability of private tertiary institutions to become more effective and also put the private institutions on the same status as the public universities. “The new policy introduces measures that seek to make the private universities autonomous,” he affirmed.
Later in an interview, Prof. Yankson added that the new policy would award licence to private universities after three years of operation, depending on the number of years the university has been in existence and the facilities they have to operate with if they become autonomous.
“Licence will be awarded to private universities that can operate on their own in terms of facilities and professionalism of lecturers,” he said. The Chief Executive Officer of Joy for Fame, John Obiri Yeboah, who was a guest speaker, said the existence of private tertiary institution had helped in the development of the country and promised to support PUSAG to become effective.
The past National President of PUSAG, Charles Opoku, mentioned that private universities cannot continue to have their ‘competitors’ as their ‘masters’ and called on government to provide a five-year road map to give autonomy to private universities. He used the opportunity to outline some of the successes of his administration.
The newly elected President of PUSAG, Alswel Annan, called on management of private universities to admit more students.
Nana Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso I, who chaired the function, advised the newly elected executives to stay focused and not dabble in unnecessary partisan politics.
“Don’t let any politician to use you; never be moved by what you see and hear but by the spirit,” he advised.
Political Science Students Defend Prof Gyampo
Some former and current students of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana have thrown their weight behind Prof. Ransford Gyampo, Head of the Centre for European Studies at the University, in the “Sex for Grade” scandal that hit the country some weeks ago.
Prof. Gyampo was captured in a documentary put together by the BBC Africa Eye. The 53 minutes documentary which had about 10 minutes focused on Prof. Gyampo, according to the BBC, was supposed to have revealed “Sex for Grades” in some West African Universities. However, the job by the BBC has been described by many including the revered Ghanaian professor of communication, Prof. Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh, as a ‘journalistic investigation gone rogue.’
Declaring their support, the students in a statement, jointly released with the #IStandWithGyampo Movement, described the documentary as “bogus and of no basis” saying “the video fails to establish any case of extortion, solicitation, abuse of power, intimidation or coercion.”
The BBC in an interview with Ghanaweb had stated that they only filmed Prof. Gyampo and one other lecturer, Dr. Paul Butakor, because the two were their “target”. The students believe the professor was targeted to be silenced by the BBC, because of his power and influence in the Ghanaian political scene.
The BBC’s admission that Prof. Gyampo was their ‘target’, according to the students, feeds into a sinister agenda to run down an enviable reputation without course or purpose.
Professor Gyampo, described as “a dedicated lecturer” by his students, is a philanthropist who believes in community of service. This is manifested in his works in the Central Region, where he hails from and other places.
He has contributed immensely to Ghana’s electoral politics and political architecture, serving through NGOs and CSOs including the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), one of the nation’s respected entities on electoral matters. He is an outspoken academic whose views on important national issues are well documented, both in the media and academic papers he has published.
The students in their statement indicated their awareness of the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy and how ‘hard it bites even students’ acknowledging that grades at the University of Ghana are to be awarded based on merit and not through any form of pleasantries including sex. “We frown on any act of solicitation on the part of lecturers or students,” they indicated.
They however emphasized that the BBC video, only showed footage of two consenting adults exchanging gestures of intimacy.
Meanwhile, Prof. Gyampo and Dr. Butakor have both been interdicted by the University while investigation is currently ongoing.
APPLY HERE: YEA partners GES for SHS non-teaching staff recruitment
In line with the mandate of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) to create jobs for the unemployed youth of Ghana, the Agency in partnership with the Ghana Education Service (GES) seek to recruit about 7,730 young Ghanaians from across various districts of the country to be trained and deployed to Senior High Schools unders the School’s Support Programme.
This recruitment is as published in the daily graphic newspaper on the 25th of October 2019.
The School Support Programme is a school based support programme aimed at ensuring the health and safety of students and staff of various SHSs in the country.
a) Schools Guards/ Security Assistants (SAs)
b) Kitchen Assistants
Applicant must be aged between 18-35 years.
Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE)
MODE OF APPLICATION
It is an online application.
Alternatively, interested applicants may visit any of the agency’s district offices.