The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) is taking significant steps to protect its military and the nation from the growing threat of cybercrime and online criminal activities. The GAF plans to establish a Directorate of Cyber and Electronic Warfare Operations, recognizing the critical need to safeguard its data, networks, and communication infrastructure from cyberattacks.
Ghana, which ranks among the top countries in Africa for cybersecurity, is not immune to the challenges posed by cybercrime. Despite its cybersecurity achievements and signing the Africa Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, Ghana has experienced a rise in online fraud, costing Ghanaians millions of dollars in direct financial losses.
In the first half of 2023 alone, online fraud cost Ghana more than $4 million, according to estimates by the Bank of Ghana. A report from the same institution revealed that in 2021, cybercrime incurred financial losses of $9.4 million. The rapid expansion of the internet and smartphone technology in Ghana, with over 23 million internet users, has gone hand in hand with an increase in online criminal activities, including identity theft, financial fraud, and phishing attacks.
Ghanaian cybersecurity analyst Samuel Sarfo highlighted the importance of addressing the knowledge gap among Ghanaians regarding online risks. Many people lack awareness of the dangers associated with online activities, making them vulnerable targets for cyber scams.
Unlike some other African nations that have not prioritized cybersecurity, Ghana has taken important steps to protect both its military and civilian population. Additionally, Ghana has been proactive in sharing its cybersecurity expertise with neighboring West African countries.
Vice Adm. Seth Amoama, Chief of the Defense Staff of the GAF, emphasized the significance of cybersecurity in national defense. He explained that security in cyberspace is as vital as security on land, sea, air, and space. Protecting data, databases, networks, and communication infrastructure is essential for the GAF, as well as the nation’s overall security.
“We have a responsibility to protect our data, database, network, communications infrastructure and other assets of the GAF,” Amoama said, reported the Ghanaian Times.
“As we take steps to protect our critical information infrastructure, we want to assure all that efforts are being made for members of the GAF to understand the cyber threats vulnerabilities, and their impact on mission readiness,” he said.
Improving cyber awareness among security professionals is a top priority for the GAF. They aim to equip their members with a better understanding of cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and their impact on mission readiness.
Cybersecurity analyst Samuel Sarfo urged Ghanaian authorities to continue enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity efforts by educating the population about online safety risks, collaborating with businesses and law enforcement to track and respond to cyberattacks, and taking proactive measures to safeguard Ghana’s digital future.
As Ghana continues to embrace digital transformation, strengthening cybersecurity measures, raising awareness, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders will be crucial to mitigate the escalating costs of cybercrime. These proactive steps will help Ghana protect its citizens and businesses and maintain a strong position in the global digital landscape. The establishment of the Directorate of Cyber and Electronic Warfare Operations underscores Ghana’s commitment to these objectives, ensuring a safer and more secure cyber environment for the nation.
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF) is set to establish a War College to train future military strategists and leaders. A War College is a senior military academy whose purpose is to educate and train senior military tacticians, strategists, and leaders. It is also a place where advanced tactical and strategic thought, doctrines and policy are developed.
The Institution will be established with seed capital from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), is expected to be the capstone of Ghana’s military education system.