GHANA – The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has intensified efforts to protect banks and other financial institutions from possible cyber-attacks amid surging rise in the use of the internet to transact businesses.

Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi, 2nd Deputy Governor of the BoG said the approach of the regulator to addressing cyber risks in the banking and payments ecosystem is designed to safeguard operational resilience, safety, soundness, and integrity of the entire system while promoting confidence in the use of financial services.

Key issues to be addressed from a regulatory perspective to help anticipate, identify, and mitigate cyber risks on a continued basis include: Improvements in the security systems and infrastructure of national switches, banks and other financial services providers.

To this end, the Bank of Ghana has issued a number of measures including the issuance of Cyber and Information Security Directive (CISD) which provides for: Governance requirements for financial services providers to institute key risk mitigation pillars such as a Board Committee on information security matters.

The CISD also required Banks to create  senior management roles for cyber security including Internal Audit and Chief Information Security Compliance Officer (CISO), among others.

Cyber threat is continuously evolving and has particularly spiked during the COVID-19 period when more people have been compelled to use internet banking when making payments.

According to a report by Kaspersky security solutions 28 million malware attacks were reported in Africa as at September 2020, as cyber criminals took advantage of increased use internet to prey on unsuspecting victims.

Mrs Abiola Bawuah, Regional Chief Executive Office at UBA Africa says cyber criminals were obtaining access to personal data via data breaches by using personal information to gain customer’s trust in scams or takeover some accounts.

“Fraudsters are aggressively using SMS authentication with phone porting, Phone spoofing of legitimate business…scammers have attempted to record victim’s voices to bypass voice recognition, finger prints, biometric and customer personal data sourced from cyber market places,” Mrs Bawuah revealed.

Bawuah noted that internal collusion remained a strong factor in most cyber-attacks called for Banks to conduct of rigorous background checks on workers in sensitive roles and other staff as part of measures to curb cyber-attacks on banks and financial institutions.

She said digital transformation was “changing fraud typologies and therefore to respond, banks needed to be proactive and update their fraud risk framework… Look for next generation prevention and detection solutions.”

On its part, the Bank of Ghana stresses continued vigilance for all service providers and operators in the ecosystem, as well as continually consumer education to help empower them to take steps to protect their financial transactions especially those that are digital.

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