Communications Minister Mrs.Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Last week Ghana has launched the country’s new Security Operations Centre (SOC) in Accra. Established by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), an Agency under the Ministry of Communications, the latest Security Operations Centre aims to protect all government digital platforms from the threat of cyber-attacks.

Speaking during the launch, Communications Minister Mrs.Ursula Owusu-Ekuful noted that the launch of the new facility aims to improve operational engagement and efficiency between NITA-CERT and CERT-GH for effective response to cybersecurity incidents affecting MDAs.

One key benefit of NITA’s SOC will be improved security incident detection among MDAs to ensure a secured digital space within which MDAs can operate and interact, she said.

“With advanced analytical and correlation technology to recognize threats, the SOC will aid in the identification of patterns and prioritization of problems for optimized resource and threat management,” she noted.

Types of attacks and response

According to analysis by the Ghana National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-GH), malware-based attacks form a great proportion of all cybersecurity incidents reported by ministries, departments and government agencies in the country.

The analysis also revealed that reported attacks on government websites  were not limited cyber-attacks including website defacements, Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS), but that they included data leakage through hacking of computers and databases.

The coming into operation of the new security infrastructure will help and improve the security status across government digital platforms for safe and effective service delivery by proactively preventing, detecting, analyzing and effectively responding to cybersecurity incident.

It is also expected to offer services that include network monitoring, which will ensure that government networks are monitored consistently in real-time and will contribute to the identification of patterns and prioritization of problems for optimized resource and threat management.

Strong benefits already observed

In his remarks the National Cybersecurity Advisor, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako highlighted that the establishment of a Security Operations Centre (SOC) at the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) marks another milestone of government’s strategic intervention to scale up  cybersecurity readiness. 

He explained that the centre, together with other similar interventions including the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) for the telecommunications sector at the National Communications Authority and the Security Operations Centre (SOC) launched by the Bank of Ghana in 2018.

This intervention's objective is to address cybersecurity challenges in the financial sector are critical elements for the effective operationalization of the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Points of Contact (PoC), which was launched by the Hon Minister for Communications exactly a year ago.

Between January and August of this year alone, more than 5000 residents made contact with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), through the National CERT, for guidance and advice in addressing cybersecurity issues of which most of them involved online fraud. Thus, the work of the National CERT through the PoC has potentially spared more than 5000 Ghanaians from being defrauded,” he said.

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