Cyber fraud sees 194% increase in 3 years

Ghana has recorded a 194 percent increase in cyber-crime and its related activities over the last three years from 2016 to 2018, statistics from the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service has indicated.

In 2018, an estimated US$105 million was lost to cyber fraud according to the Department.

This figure, the Department noted, excludes indirect costs as well as other incidents which were not detected or reported to law enforcement and other regulatory bodies.

The crime was derived from hacking into protected databases and systems, business fraud, social media impersonation, ransomware attacks, data leakages and online safety breaches involving children.

Conversely, figures available at the Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department revealed that US$35.7 million was lost to cybercrime in 2016 and US$69.2 million in 2017.

Thus, the country lost a whopping US$229.9 million to recorded cybercrime cases between 2016 and August last year, with 60 percent of cases being fraud related and 40 percent related to monies stolen from banks.

In 2017, cybercrime was estimated to cost the global economy as much as US$600 billion with experts predicting the cost of cybercrime to hit US$21 trillion by 2021.

About 74 percent of businesses are also forecasted to be hacked in the coming years, with most African countries including Ghana, likely to have an increasing share of the resultant losses.

Meanwhile Communications Minister, Hon. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has explained that the lack of IT standardization, lack of required skillsets, inadequate technical measures and the lack of general awareness on cyber risks are some of the reasons why Ghana is at so much risk.

Recently, the unauthorized interference with the Computer School Placement System in the country, is a typical incident.

“But GIFMIS, HRMIS, e-governance infrastructure in health, education, the judicial service, procurement, payment systems, security systems among others are all at risk of cyber-attack” the Minister said.

Government, as part of strategies to scale up Ghana’s cyber-security readiness and protect the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII), according to the Minister, has led to the increase in the Communication Service Tax (CST) from six percent to nine percent in a bid to provide revenue for cyber-security initiatives in order to protect digital infrastructure being used by both the public and private sectors.