The amount of money lost to cyber related crimes has catapulted from US$35million in 2016 to US$105million in 2018, the Director of Cyber-Crime Unit, GPS, Dr. Gustav Yankson has revealed.
He explained that with technological advancement, cyber hackers are everywhere seeking for loopholes to explore, systems to penetrate, and information and money to steal – hence the need to pay critical attention to personal information protection.
“Fraud is the highest form of cyber crime recorded within the period. This is because we tend to be porous as Ghanaians; we believe everything we hear in terms of social engineering. For instance, get free data by sharing something or by liking a page – and people do so without cross-checking, which could be giving away valuable information about yourself.
“Secondly, there are various forms of extortion such as through hacking. And it means our cyber security is not good enough. The third most-used cybercrime is sextortion – thus, extortion with nude pictures or sex videos. I would therefore advise the ladies to be careful when taking nude pictures on their phones or sharing such nude pictures with their partners; because when it goes viral, it is difficult to control,” he said at the launch of a research report on ‘Patronage of Cyber Insurance in Ghana’ organised by the Institute of Compliance and Cyber Studies (ICCS).
Dr. Gustav, further indicated that the police are not able to do much about the issue of mobile money fraud, because a lot of the information or data required to do anything sits with the Telcos – but them releasing it is the problem.
“They refuse to give out the data, asking for a court order; and even with the court order, they only give out minimal info – claiming to be protecting the individual’s privacy and operating on ethics/regulatory demands,” he bemoaned
Cyber insurance is key to mitigating cyber security threats but cannot be a one-stop solution to cybercrime; hence the need for network protection, especially for the mobile money platform.
The research seeks to sensitise corporate organisations and individuals on cyber security, as well as challenge insurance companies to develop cyber insurance policies or products for the market, and indicated that cyber insurance is the fastest-growing line of business in the insurance industry globally.
Furthermore, the report revealed that the level of awareness for cyber insurance policies is very low in Ghana, with focus only on traditional insurance policies like motor, health, fire, property and life insurance among others.
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The research recommends that insurance companies should take advantage of the cyber insurance market’s availability and develop policies tailored toward needs of the Ghanaian market.
Executive Director, ICCS, Theophilus Kwadjo Odjer-Bio, speaking on the report said: “Institutions should engage the services of information security experts to help them with the risk assessment component. Regulators in the cyber space of Ghana should increase cyber security awareness and buttress it with the enforcement of stringent cyber risk management procedures, in order to build resilient systems and prepare the nation for any unforeseen situations in the future.”
Deputy National Insurance Commissioner and chairman of the occasion, Michael Andoh, expressed satisfaction with the research parameters, indicating that it is the NIC’s duty to conduct such a research but has delayed for too long.
“Ghana is at an infant stage in terms of providing safety and security in cyber space. Cyber insurance patronage is a novelty and even industry players are ignorant of the level of risk they can be exposed to, which makes it necessary for this sensitisation initiative.
“Understanding the dynamics is key, so we need more data to understand it – and this requires capacity building as well to deal with that,” he said.