Reported By: STEPHEN ODOI LARBI
A 2017 report on cyber security released by 3T Solutions Consulting has revealed that banks and financial institutions in Ghana are most vulnerable to cyber attacks with the researchers calling for stronger ties between public and private sectors and international organizations to combat the threat.
The banking and financial institutions in other countries in the West African sub-region such as The Gambia, Liberia and Nigeria, are also at risk from cyber attacks, according to the report.
The report titled ‘2017 West Africa Cyber-Security Indexing & Readiness Assessment’ looked at the scope, level of readiness and preparedness of four countries in West Africa namely Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia and Liberia and their effort to combat cyber threats and intrusion into their economic, social and political structures.
The report is an aggregated index combining several indicators with a view of creating a standard comparison of the countries involved in the report.
Findings of the report also indicate that the common feature with which cyber criminals’ use on their unsuspecting victims is to hack into their emails and get hold of the correspondences and instruct the banks to transact businesses on their behalf.
Another common feature associated with the cyber criminals is the use of ATM cards where they are cloned to defraud their victims.
“From the information that we have from the Central Bank, potential money loss if all the fraudulent transactions had gone through will be about GH?70million … They [cyber criminals] hack into emails and take hold of correspondences and instructs banks to transact businesses on their behalf … We also have issues of ATM fraud where cards are cloned,” the report quoted Mr. Philip Owiredu, Chief Executive Director of Cal Bank as saying in his interview with the researchers.
Brussels-based SWIFT, a cooperative owned by more than 11,000 global financial institutions with connection in over 200 countries financial institutions warned in early 2016 that financial institutions should take additional internal and external measures to close gaps in their security.
According to the report, unknown hackers breached the computer systems in Bangladesh Bank and in early February attempted to steal $951million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which it uses for international settlements. Some attempted transfers, according to the report, were blocked but $81million was transferred to accounts in the Philippines in one of the largest cyber heists in history.
Nigeria, according to the study, looses N127billion annually to cyber crime.
More than `60% of those surveyed within the Banking and Financial institutions have been victims or have known victims of cyber crime in the last 12 months.