The Consulting President of the Laweh Open University College, Professor Goski Alabi, has advised academic institutions especially universities, to fortify their cyber-security systems against academic fraud.
According to the academic who is the President of African Council for Distance Education, one of the major challenges that universities were facing was cyber-security related, whereby some Information Technology officers manipulated university systems to change students’ grades for money.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day Short Course in data protection and cyber-security at the University in Accra, yesterday, she said, if institutions did not take immediate action, their academic integrity would be dented.
The workshop organised by the University in collaboration with e-Crime Bureau, a cyber-security and investigations organisation, was to build the capacity of participants , including academics , students and officials from government and private institutions on online threats and defence.
According to Prof. Alabi, who was the founding Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Professional Studies, Accra, continuous professional development for IT and information security officers to enable them spot and deal with cyber threats was imperative.
“It is time we started focusing more on building capacity for cyber security and cyber intelligence. The universities should ensure that we come together and face the monster. We hiding behind the scenes is not going to help. The fact is that all of us, our universities are being affected. They are being attacked,” she said.
Prof Alabi said the University College was ready to support the other universities to build their capacity and to get international certification in order to protect information management systems.
In addition to the punishment given to persons arrested for cyber-security crimes, she advocated that such offenders should be trained and certified to positively use their skills, stating that the university was ready to provide the training.
She said inasmuch as the fourth industrial resolution had come with numerous advantages, it had its own excesses that needed to be tackled in order not to erode the benefits.
“We need to rethink the issue of cyber security in the country. There is more to cyber security than financial fraud. Cybersecurity poses a national security threat,” she said.
The Acting Principal Consultant of e-Crime Bureau, Philip DebrahDanquah, said cyber threats had increased, citing the World Economic Forum’s global cyber security outlook report which indicated that cyber-attacks increased 125 per cent globally in 2021, with evidence suggesting an upward rise in 2022.
He said Ghana had made significant strides in its growth in cyber security and data protection and was ranked third in Africa by Global Cyber-security Index of the International Telecommunication Union in 2021.
However, he said, reports and industry analyses had shown that there was a demand for skills required to detect, respond and prevent these breaches to improve upon the business posture of institutions.
He said the collaboration between e-Crime Bureau and the University College was to provide relevant courses and training to address challenges within IT environments.