Author - james

Cyber Security week is an annual event which aims to raise awareness of cybercrime trends and to highlight the growing importance of cyber security at all levels—people, businesses and government. As the month of October, slated for global Cyber Security Awareness, Ghana celebrated its National Cyber Security Week 2017, organized by the Ministry of Communications, and under the distinguished patronage of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the Accra International Conference Center, from 23rd – 27th October 2017.

The week, themed “Securing Ghana’s Digital Journey” brought together stakeholders from all walks of life to create awareness of cyber security and how to protect systems and citizens from cyber-attacks. The celebration featured an informative and engaging programme of activities including thought leadership sessions, panel discussions, demonstrations, and exhibitions.

The event was a national platform for major industry players, businesses and organizations, an opportunity to share information and experiences, and best practice with global partners, and a National visibility for cyber security solutions and innovation.

Key discussions throughout the week revolved around Cyber Security Governance; Cyber Security Conferences & Workshops; Child Online Protection; Cyber Security Solutions; Cybercrime, Cyber Hygiene and Awareness, with seasoned experts and professionals in the industry.

Key participating stakeholders also included the Ministry of Communications, the National Cyber Security Secretariat, the Ministry of National Security, Africa Union Commission, ECOWAS Secretariat, UNDP, Council of Europe, National Communications Authority, Data Protection Commission, Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, ISACA Ghana, and Innovare.

During the President’s address at the formal opening ceremony, he noted that Cyber-security issues are now firmly national security threats, and that Ghana cannot fully reap the digital dividends, associated with her adoption of ICT as a means of our socio-economic transformation, if the country fails to mitigate both existing and emerging cyber security threats. For this reason, the need to establish a National Cyber Security Centre, as has been done in some other countries, to liaise with relevant state agencies and the private sector to oversee cyber security operations at the national

level.

The president also pointed out that the government is undertaking specific policy and practical intervention initiatives (Ghana’s National Cyber Security Policy & Strategy–NCSPS), including capacity building, international co-operation, judicial enforcement of cybercrime legislations, and implementation of technical standards and safeguards to combat the menace.

His Excellency added that the government will also engage with international institutions and technology partners, such as International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO), Google, Facebook and Microsoft, to ensure cyber safety for citizens, especially children.

As we scale up our digitization efforts and increasingly embrace technological advancements, it is vital to improve our cyber preparedness and security and adopt a multi stakeholder approach to achieve cyber wellness. This Cyber Security Week offers an excellent opportunity for information sharing and engagement and is a key component in building an effective and robust cyber security ecosystem in Ghana– Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (Minister for Communications).

In her statement, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said that the immediate priority of the Ministry is to undertake a national cyber security risk assessment to identify cyber vulnerabilities and priority areas that require immediate and specific interventions. She added that the Ministry is working with the World Bank to conduct a Cyber security Capacity Maturity Model to assess the level of development of national cyber security efforts from the policy, regulatory, end-user, and other perspectives, in order to provide recommendations to government on how to enhance our cyber security readiness.

The National Cyber Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council (NCSIAC) was inaugurated, and would be the critical drivers of this national agenda.

 

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Using ICT Solutions to Detect and Fight Crime in Ghana

The Ghana Police Service has been overwhelmed with the upsurge of armed robbery cases in different parts of the country. The police themselves have been attacked on few occasions especially in recent times and in all those cases, they were found wanting. The recent attack on the Police happened was when a group of armed men attacked the Kwabenya Police station and freed inmates locked up in cells. The Police had to rely on the public to bring some of the perpetrators to book. One of the lessons learnt from the Kwabenya attack was the need for video cameras at the police station. The vice President of the Republic of Ghana who doubles as the chairman of the Police council, HE Dr Mahamadu Bawumia on the 11th of February 2018, announced that the government was going to install Closed-Circuit Televisions (CCTV) cameras in all Police stations spread across all 216 districts in Ghana.

On the 24th of February 2018, armed robbers stormed the premises of Royal motors. They robbed the firm and before leaving, took with them the CCTV Digital Video Recorder (DVR) which was being used by Royal motors. This is the first time armed robbers have robbed a firm in Ghana and made away with a CCTV DVR. This shows that the robbers are becoming more sophisticated and tech savvy. It then means that installing CCTV’s on premises alone won’t be enough to curb robbery. After this robbery and other reported robberies, the government came out (on 1st March, 2018) with some short to medium term measures which includes deploying a joint Military and Police patrol team, raising 800m Ghana Cedis to purchase Helicopter(s), body amours and other equipment’s for the police and a directive to all Banks to install CCTV cameras on their premises. Later in that day, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr. David Asante Apeatu announced a major shakeup in the police hierarchy as a response to the recent armed robbery attacks. This was expected but as to whether that is the solution, we live to see.

In learning from recent best practices, the Kenyan National Police Service Commission now has a high-speed private broadband network at its disposal, reliant in part on Huawei’s proprietary wireless eLTE solution. The new infrastructure links its command centers with over 1,500 high-definition cameras in downtown Nairobi, more than 200 cameras at city checkpoints and any number of wireless devices in the hands of officers in the field.

Authorities have panoramic video surveillance of Nairobi’s urban center, and a highly-agile command and dispatch setup, running on satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and software-based GIS, the geographic information system designed to store and manipulate GPS data. Additionally, an intelligent video analysis platform has been established to manage video resources and meet a variety of service needs, including real-time surveillance, video browsing, data sharing and evidence collection. The new system has enhanced police collaboration, coordination, decision making and response times. The newly out-doored Ghana Post GPS can be developed properly to help in providing precise locations of hot spots and locations of incidents.

With smart devices allied to a private or leased broadband network, Police officers from the command center can pick up a live feed of a shop theft from CCTV, say, before they even arrive at the scene, or of criminals in flight from cameras fixed to patrol cars, video’s from camera’s installed on communication towers close by, CCTV camera’s on shop owner’s premises or drones in the vicinity.

Intelligent camera’s installed along streets can monitor the speed limits of cars and report with Panic alarms when it recognizes a vehicle moving above the speed limit to the command center. It is a known fact that armed robbers both on motor bikes or vehicles drive on top speed after engaging in a robbery act. A smart and intelligent camera can pick up such motor bikes and vehicles and report to the control center if such a movement is recorded. Once an officer picks up such panic signal, the closest police patrol team can be informed to follow the over speeding vehicle and intercept it. Also, the control center can continue to monitor the vehicle or motor bike to wherever it stops.

Another best practice is what the city of Detroit implemented in reducing crime by 50 percent. The city of Detroit in January 2016 started what is known as the “project green light”. This project was done as a public-private partnership between the Police Department and shop/business owners in the city. The project combines real-time crime-fighting and community policing to improve neighborhood safety and promote the growth of local businesses. At its core, Project Green Light strengthens the city’s efforts to prevent, identify, and solve crime. Business owners were tasked to implement high definition video camera systems for both indoor and outdoor. The outdoor systems were also complemented with additional lighting to sufficiently cover all areas of the property. Secondly, the business owners gave real-time access to their cameras at all times to the police department.

This means that the Police department can access the video from their central monitoring facility. Lastly, they installed enhanced exterior lighting systems and a green flashing light, identifying their participation in the program. The best part of this collaboration was the usage of Microsoft Azure cloud platform for storage of all videos. This eliminated the cost in getting large storage devices and maintenance of the system.

Part 2 of this article will give more insight into ICT smart solutions for crime detection

 

Author: Samuel Hanson Hagan – Telecommunications Consultant (Member: Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)

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How safe is Bitcoin – Cryptocurrency as hackers stole $7 million from Ethereum?

The myth of undistortable claim about the block-chain has been proven false, as hackers have hijacked cryptocurrency trading platform, CoinDash on Monday, July 17, 2017.

This attack was launched during the CoinDash’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO). This is noted as the first known breach of a crypto-currency platform in the world.

CoinDash is an Israeli startup, planned to raise capital by selling its own digital tokens in exchange for the cryptocurrency, Ethereum, which is like Bitcoin.

The safety of this fast growing digital currency has been major concerns for financial market analysts since there is no security of investors’ funds by any regulatory framework.

African-originated Investments in some of these digital currencies have been massive due to the high marketing activities based on its hackers’ immunity.

This concern was also raised by Charles Hoskinson, co-founder of Ethereum noting that crypto-coin market is a time-bomb.

“People say ICOs are great for Ethereum because, look at the price, but it’s a ticking time-bomb.”

“There’s an over-tokenization of things as companies are issuing tokens when the same tasks can be achieved with existing blockchains. People are blinded by fast and easy money,” Charles said.

In most African countries, many local investors have been attracted to invest massively in many crypto-currencies across the world. Aside from the high returns on investment due to increased trading price of these digital currencies, it has also been stated to be hackers’ immune. One farce this incidence has defeated.

Most of African consumers and investors are more convenient with having their funds in Bitcoin rather than stock or mutual funds.

Globally, many tech firms have raised about $1.3 billion from digital coin sales this year.

Just like other digital currency, digital currency linked to the Ethereum blockchain, surged from around $8 after its ICO at the start of the year to just under $400 last month.

Though the incidence has made its value to drop by 50% since Monday.

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