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Ghana suffered direct financial losses of US $4.33 million due to cyber fraud activities between January to June. The figure represented only a percentage of the cases reported to state agencies, and the damages from unreported cases could exceed the amount reported so far.
Cyber fraud instances in Ghana led to significant financial losses of $4.33 million. These are just the losses notified to officials during January and June of 2023; however, unreported cases could surpass the amount. The Director-General, Cyber Security Authority, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, revealed this at the September 3rd media launch, of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Accra. The month of October has been designated as “National Cybersecurity Awareness Month,” with the subject “Promoting a Culture of Digital Safety.” It aims to create awareness among citizens and organisations operating there on protecting themselves from cyber threats and using cyberspace safely.
He stated that the cyber authority obtained 41,285 citizen complaints about cybercrime and other similar activities between October 2019 and July 2023. Online crimes accounted for 45% of the total, which included commerce, dating, online extortion, and identity theft.
As a result, Dr. Antwi-Boasiako has urged social and individual accountability in defending oneself from digital fraud. He advised the public to call the Authority’s toll-free number, 292, and report any issue involving online fraud to address it as soon as possible. He also urged for the confinement and unification of the activities of governmental institutions that compile statistics on detentions, criminal proceedings, and verdicts of people associated with cyber fraud.
A total of 23.05 million Ghanaians have access to the internet, which corresponds to 68.2% of the nation’s population. Out of this, 6.6 million (19.5%) are active social media individuals, helping the country achieve 13th on an index of countries where people spend excessive time online.
Dr. Antwi-Boasiako stated that Ghana’s attempt to ensure an atmosphere of digital safety stemmed from the nation’s cyberculture and societal dimension, which originated from the security Capacity Maturity Model (CMM) evaluation authorised by the Department of Communications and Digitalisation in January 2018.
The subject for this year’s cybersecurity awareness campaign emphasises the necessity of building an inclusive mindset and behaviour that supports and promotes sustainable online practices, security awareness, and individual data security.
Dr. Antwi-Boasiako stated, “We expect the media launch to set in motion a month-long national cybersecurity awareness creation that will assemble public and private sector players, cybersecurity professionals, the academia, and representatives from civil society organisations, in preparation for the NCSAM as we seek to encourage every Ghanaian to stay digitally alert.”
He urged cooperation to standardise the procurement procedures in the public sector in order to ensure the prudent, economic, and efficient use of government assets, as well as to provide a simplified mechanism to ensure that cybersecurity providers, organisations, and experts in the country carry out their responsibilities in compliance with accepted international guidelines.
Data from October 2019 to July 2023 revealed that the top reported events in online fraud included shopping, romance, employment, and investment fraud at 45%, online blackmail at 13%, unauthorised access at 10%, internet harassment at 9%, and digital impersonation at 8%. As a result, citizens from different sectors who are about taking on various online obligations such as financial commitments to buy something, encourage a paid service or make an investment ranging from as little as GH50 to GH1000, offering sensitive data that could be utilised for theft of their identities, impersonations, visiting, installing illicit websites and material that might interfere with business operations, should contact the Authority through the website.