The lack of a guaranteed source of funding and cooperation among local intelligent agencies and inadequate skilled human resource are some of the many challenges inhibiting the fight against cybersecurity and its related crimes in the country, the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has noted.
These challenges, in addition to some legal limitations, she said, were affecting the effective enforcement of cybersecurity in the country, particularly within the public sector, in line with global best practices.
“This explains why the Ministry of Communications, working with the members of the National Cyber Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council (NCSIAC) and other stakeholders are introducing a Cybersecurity Bill,” she said.
Mrs Owusu Ekuful was speaking during the opening of a three-day retreat organised for the members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications by the ministry in Ada last Saturday.
Initiatives to curb the menace
In spite of the difficulties confronting the ministry in dealing with the security breaches and threats within the cyberspace, the Minister said her outfit was “working tirelessly to achieve the objectives set out by the ministry”.
She outlined a number of initiatives being rolled out by her ministry to face the challenges head-on.
She said, the establishment of the National Cyber Security Technical Working Group (NCSTWG), for instance, had been instrumental in many of the initiatives being undertaken by the ministry in fighting the menace.
Again, she said, the ministry had set up a National Cyber Security Secretariat, which has metamorphosed into a National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC), to serve as a focal point for the convergence of all cybersecurity activities in the country.
Spearheaded by the ministry, she said, the nation had also began developing its national incident response capabilities with the establishment of a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) at the National Communications Authority and a Security Operations Centre (SOC) at the Bank of Ghana to deal with cybersecurity incidents in all spheres of the country’s economy.
In addition to these interventions, the minister also added that the country was collaborating with some key stakeholders both home and abroad, such as the Council of Europe and the African Union Commission, to deal with the borderless nature of cybersecurity.
Capacity building retreat
The retreat was aimed at building the capacity of the committee members in the area of cybersecurity and to offer them an opportunity to review and make inputs into the draft Cybersecurity legislations (Cybersecurity Bill) and Interception Bill and the revised National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy.
Personnel from the National Cyber Security Centre demonstrated to the committee members how their technological gadgets could be hacked.
It was attended by officials from the Ministry of Communications, members of the Legislative Drafting Division of the Office of the Attorney General’s Department and some personnel from the National Cyber Security Centre.
The chairman of the committee, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, for his part, said that cybersecurity was becoming “a torn in our flesh” and that it was imperative for them to come together to find a cure to the menace.
“We are here to educate ourselves and as policy makers, and to make an input into a draft bill that is going to be presented to the floor of Parliament”, he said.
The ranking member of the committee, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, also added that there was no country in the world today that could claim immunity from cybercrime and that what the country ought to do was to build a strong and resilient cybersecurity systems to protect its cyberspace.