Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Acting Director-General of the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), says in Ghana, the average time spent per internet user on mobile phones alone is about five hours daily.
He also said internet penetration has increased exponentially from 2.31 million in 2012 to 17 million users in 2022, representing 53 per cent of the population.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako said this on Wednesday at the Media Launch of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2022 in Accra
He said recent statistics indicated that over 62 per cent (4.95 billion) of the world’s population have access to the internet.
The Ag. Director-General said according to research conducted by “Hootsuite” and “We Are Social”– two of the globally recognised social media management platforms, Ghana’s internet population stood at 16.99million, constituting 53 per cent of the total population as of the first quarter of 2022.
He said that development had translated to the ranking of Ghana’s social media usage or presence third globally, only behind Nigeria and the Philippines, which were ranked number first and second respectively.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako said the research specifically revealed that about a 11.18million people used the internet to access sports betting sites, 10.79million used it to access news sites, 10.68million for social media sites while only 2.57million used it to visit informational sites.
He said studies had shown that, an increasing reliance on the internet had created more risks and vulnerabilities and opened up new possibilities for criminal activity.
The Ag. Director-General said Global Risks Reports 2022 indicated that cybersecurity threats were growing, and malware and ransomware attacks increased by 358 per cent and 435 per cent respectively in 2020.
He said the report also ranked cyber-attacks as the seventh most likely and eighth most impactful risk facing businesses globally.
“In recent years, there have been several major cyber incidents that have significantly impacted businesses, including financial institutions and other critical information infrastructure worldwide. That is to say, as dependency on digital technologies surges, so does cybercrime,” he said.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako said cybercriminals were seizing every opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities against people, businesses, and organisations, having a grave impact on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems and networks, including critical information infrastructures.
He said as at first half of 2022, the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-GH) at the Cyber Security Authority had received a total of 7,135 contacts through the various points of contacts launched in 2019.
Out of those, he said, 309 were recorded as cybersecurity related incidents, adding that the top five incidents received from the public included online fraud – 110 incidents, unauthorised access – 89 incidents, online blackmail – 58 incidents, online impersonation – 23 incidents and publication of non-consensual intimate images – 10 incidents.
“Also, a total of 4117 represents those who reached out to the National CERT of the CSA for guidance and advisories to prevent cybercrime incidents,” he added.
Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Chamber Telecommunications, said cyber security, just like any other security apparatus, needed a collaborative approach to counter threats and create a cyber hygiene ecosystem.
He said crimes that existed in the cyberspace were more dangerous than those that happened in real life and urged all stakeholders to pay attention to cybersecurity.
“We all need to really work together with CSA, including the private, public sector, CSOs, academia, among others to safeguard our systems,” he advised.