Eric Akumiah eric at aftld.org
Thu Apr 29 14:11:47 SAST 2010

For Immediate

Accra, Ghana April 23, 2010: Cyber crime has become extremely pervasive
since the invention of the Internet.   In Ghana, many people associate the
phenomena with "Sakawa", which is Internet fraud or scamming.
However,cyber crime goes beyond Internet fraud, it could also involve the
hacking of networks, which could destroy national critical infrastructure.
The perpetrators of cyber crime have become very sophisticated, so there
is the need to protect our Internet resources by waging warfare against
them" said Prof Nii Narku Quaynor.

Prof Quaynor, made these remarks at social night, when he chaired a social
gathering organised by the Ghana Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC)
under the theme,Internet Security and the National Effort.  It was
attended by about 50 people from ISOC members, government, civil society,
industry and academia.

Reiterating the importance of protecting our critical infrastructure, Mr.
Daniel Asante, coordinator of the Ghana Computer Emergency Response Team
(ghCERT) informed the gathering that ghCERT was partnering with government
agencies, ghNOG, ISOC Ghana, GhNIC and other organisations to create
awareness on Internet security issues and how some of the incidences can
prevented.  He however, said that because of the pervasive nature of the
Internet, it was difficult to track down on the perpetrators and that
everyone was obligated to protect the Internet against anti-social acts.

An interesting question that came up for discussion was how much security
was needed to prevent the cyber crime.  While one school was of the
thought that security was extremely necessary and that policies should be
put in place to curb cyber crime, another was of the opinion that, the
security, the less friendly the Internet becomes, since the Internet is a
network of networks and used by a large number of people.

Adding on to the debate, Prof. Quaynor said that technology keeps changing
very rapidly and policies very quickly become obsolete.  Moreover,
policies on Internet usage are done globally with the involvement of
organisations such as, the IETF, ISOC, IGF, ITU, ICANN etc, and these
normally take time before they are implemented.   He said, rather than
preventing the occurrences, the role of ghCERT is to respond to problems
as and when they occur.  Prof. Quaynor stressed on the importance of
sharing of best practices among IT operators on a regularly, so that they
are abreast of the issues.

Presenting the topic, Mitigating the "Sakawa" Challenge, Mr. Charles
Nelson, of Youth Against Cyber Crime,described himself as a lone ranger in
the war against "Sakawa". He described the phenomena as endemic and that
the future was bleak if the government does not take measures to nip the
crime in the bud.  Of great concern to Mr. Nelson, however is the
erroneous perception among people that young people who use Internet are
all engaged in the Sakawa business. There must be a reorientation of the
minds of the youth that the Internet goes beyond Sakawa. He said Advocacy
is therefore, the key to change the mindset of these young people.

As the Internet continues to grow,there is a need for global computer
emergency response teams to curb the incidences of cyber crime.  The Ghana
project is therefore, a laudable initiative. According to Prof Quaynor,
there is the need to create network of government ministries agencies and
departments to come out with a defence strategy. He made this call when
Mr.  Godfred Ofori-Som, Chair, Technical Committee, ISOC, Ghana, Ayittey
Bulley, Vodafone Ghana, Daniel Asante and Charles Nelson, constituted a
panel to discuss the way forward in forging a strong computer emergency
response team.  Mr. Asante, said that currently ghCERT was operating on
funds from benefactors and voluntary contributions and that there was the
need to look for other funding alternatives. Dr. Quaynor called on ghCERT
to form strong ties with the government and tackle the issues from a
multi-stakeholder approach.   Mr. Asante made a call for volunteers to
join in the crusade to make the Internet a safer place.  He said GhCERT
was putting a portal in place where it would disseminate information via
He also called for volunteers to team up with ghCERT to create awareness
of the initiative.   Four other CERTS in Africa can be found in Tunisia,
South Africa, Mauritius and Egypt.

The evening was climaxed with the launching of the new ISOC website, which
has current Web 2 features, user generation content, with face book and
twitter integrations. The launch was performed by Prof. Quaynor, Board
Chairman of ISOC Ghana.

About Internet Society Ghana Chapter
The Internet Society Ghana Chapter (ISOC Ghana) is a not-for-profit
organization and official Chapter of the Internet Society.  The mission of
ISOC Ghana is to inform the private and public community of Internet
users, on recent developments in Internet technologies and their impact on
today's global society.

Vera Doku
Communication Chair
ISOC Ghana
[E] : Vera.doku at gmail.com
[M]: +233-244627994

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