BoG gets tough on cyber crime ….launches Cyber and Information Security Directive

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has launched the Cyber and Information Security Directive for the financial industry in a bid to tackle the growing cyber threat and crime in the country.

In addition, the BoG’s Security Operations Centre (SOC) was also inaugurated to oversee cyber security issues in the financial industry.

As part of the directive, financial institutions are mandated to appoint a Cyber and Information Security Officer, who would advise senior management and the board on cyber security issues, formulate adequate measures to manage cyber and information security risks and the active involvement of senior management executives and boards of financial institutions.

Speaking at the launch in Accra on Monday, the First Deputy Governor of the BoG, Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari said globally, risks associated with cybercrime on financial systems had increased, notable among them were the financial disruptions arising from cyber-incidents in Bangladesh and Malaysia.

“Through the Bank’s monitoring systems, we have observed the daily attempts by cyber criminals to bypass security controls and exploit vulnerabilities within the cyber and information security defenses of financial systems.  We cannot ignore the fact the increasing use of technology with its attendant interconnectedness has enable some of these challenges,” he said.

Dr Opoku-Afari, who chaired the programme said with the complexities associated with advancement of technology, BoG took steps to counter those threats to ensure the integrity and operation security of the financial system.

“The objective of this directive are to ensure an uninterrupted financial intermediation process through a robust and resilient financial sector and also boost the trust and confidence of consumers in the banking industry,” he said, adding that the resilience of the financial sector was largely dependent on the soundness of the financial institutions and the robustness of the financial market infrastructure.

The First Deputy Governor stressed that the directive was to create an enabling framework for the efficient information sharing among stakeholders, for example between financial institutions and regulators.

He said the directive set out procedures for governance, risk management, internal audit, asset management, cyber defense, and cyber response.

Dr Opoku-Afari entreated all the financial institutions to comply with the directive and all stakeholders to help ensure the successful implementation of the directive.

The Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo Danquah said the biggest security concern of the Ghana Policy Service was cyber threat.

She said cyber threat and crime was sophisticated and getting credible evidence to proffer charges against cyber criminals was a challenge, saying even if the cyber criminal were arrested prosecuting them become a problem and entreated the banks to take directive seriously.

The Deputy Minister of Communications, Vincent Sowah Odotei who delivered the keynote address said the launch of the CISD had come at a very opportune time when the country was observing the National Cyber Security Week.

He said the CISD would help to build strong and resilient cyber security architecture in the country.

Mr Odotei called for training on the CISD directive and entreated all to support the implantation of the programme.

 By Kingsley Asare

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