A 2016 survey by Better Business Bureau (BBB) on Ghana indicates about a quarter of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are unaware of cybercriminal activities.
The BBB is a private, nonprofit organization from the United States whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.
The report revealed that a third of the respondents during a survey had not heard of ransomware, and nearly half had not heard of point-of-sale (PoS) malware.
Cyber-crime at PoS
The PoS malware is one that gathers information from the credit cards by the application running on the PoS system and steals it.
A PoS device is designed to complete a retail transaction which then calculates the amount customers must pay for their purchases and provide options for customers to make said payment.
According to the report, PoS systems in Ghana were mainly involved in three quarters of cyber-attacks in the hotel and restaurant industry.
It also showed that hackers mainly attacked small businesses to gain access to data on customers and employees.
The survey suggested that small firms may not suffer a direct hit from cyber criminals but may be used indirectly to attack big corporates. This has proven to be quite an effective criminal tactic because of the delusion that their size keeps them safe.
Government’s resolve to cyber-crime
Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful recently described Ghana’s cyber-security maturity as steadily developing. This is in relation to a Cyber-Security Maturity Model (CMM) study, commissioned by the Ministry of Communications and conducted by the Global Security Capacity Centre (GSCC) of the University of Oxford in collaboration with the World Bank.
She said government’s effort to strengthen the country’s cyber security ecosystem remains a priority, as it has established the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) to oversee and coordinate national cyber security interventions and initiatives.
By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah