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Businesses in Ghana have been advised to invest in quality software to protect them from potential cyber-attacks.
This comes in the wake of the WannaCry ransomware attack which affected over 10,000 organizations and 200,000 individuals in over 150 countries last weekend.
A cyber-security expert and an ethical-hacker, Dr. Peter Tobin charged corporate organizations using “free and cheap software that you can’t have patches” to desist from such practice as it opens them up to possible cyber-attacks.
“It will surprise you that most corporate organizations in Ghana are not using paid and properly licensed software. They just go online and download software. Free antiviruses give you a false sense of security. You need to buy an antivirus that has the right engine to prevent any harm and also get your system regularly and properly updated,” he told the host of The Lounge, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo Friday.
An IT professional, Mrs. Audrey Mireku on her part explained that free software are usually paid for by people who then “attach a worm to it so when you download it, the worm works in the background and you are not even aware of what is happening.”
Dr. Tobbin said it is high time Ghana began enforcing its laws on internet security to protect sensitive data and prevent possible attacks.
“At the moment, we have two main laws – the Electronic Transaction Act and the Data Protection Act but like every other law we have in Ghana, it’s the enforcement that is the problem. The average Ghanaian doesn’t really know what is in the Act and even those who are supposed to enforce it are doubting, they don’t fully appreciate what they can do with the Act. If the right legislation is in place, it will serve as a threat to people. We can do better with our laws,” he said.
Personal Internet Security
Dr. Tobbin again charged the general public to develop a sense of awareness and a proper security consciousness when using the internet.
He indicated that the world is moving from a “physical realm towards a virtual realm and that move comes along with different thinking so we need to be a bit more careful with what we do when we are on the internet.”
“I find it very interesting when people use Snapchat every day; I can see Snapchats of a person’s life and I can actually tell you what they do with their whole life and to me it’s risky. You are making data available; you are giving people too much information about yourself and that is dangerous.
“You can actually map a person’s whole family by going to Facebook and that is dangerous. We have to be cautious that the internet is not the same – the physical eyes are no longer there. In the virtual world, we cannot see the way we see things physically and so we have to be very cautious when dealing in the virtual world,” he said.
A software entrepreneur and CEO of Soft Tribe, Herman Chinery-Hesse said despite the risks associated with the virtual transformation of the world, there are enormous benefits.
“Going electronic will hold back corruption, create instant communication, we can move large volumes of data quickly. It’s a great tool for research, great number crunching – our system can run the whole government payroll under an hour. So the benefits, you cannot argue about. It’s just an arena that comes with its own dangers and we just have to learn to deal with it,” he advised.
Mrs. Mireku added that, “we [Ghana] shouldn’t slow down on transforming our systems into electronic. We shouldn’t otherwise we will be left behind. The world is moving fast and the risks are also increasing, but it’s not by choice that we have to stop and not care. We have to move because the world is moving.”
The Lounge with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo airs live on Starr FM every Friday from 7pm to 8am and on GHOne on Sundays from 8pm to 9pm.