The Cyber crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has cautioned the public against the activities of cyber-criminals, who are using social engineering to steal data from unsuspecting individuals and companies.
Dr Herbert Gustav Yankson said the main threat to Ghana’s cyber-security space is through social engineering.
He noted that the situation is worrying as it have been taken for granted for long, imploring that emphasis should be placed on that to curb the menace.
Social engineering crimes involve the use of deceit in order to obtain a person’s confidential identification information.
Often times, the scammer would employ a fake survey or other social study device that would lead the person to believe that the survey is real.
This can occur through telephone calls, e-mail or other computer communications, social media websites and text messages.
Dr Yankson made this known at a workshop to mark; “Girls in ICT Day” in Accra.
The event, which was organised by the Internet Society (ISOC) Ghana Chapter, was on the theme: “Security and Digital Privacy – Focus on Social Engineering”.
Dr Yankson said social engineering was something that had been taken for granted for a long time; adding that: “In this day and age, it is better to be on guard, especially women and girls”.
He said in 2018, statistics showed fraud, taking the first position within the cyber crime unit; stating that 60 per cent of their recorded cases was about fraud.
“Fraud is basically using deception and that is where social engineering comes in. If most of our cases are related to fraud, then they are based on all the different kinds of social engineering,” he said.
“Through social engineering, our ladies have things that guys wants to see, and about 98 to 99 per cent the indicators are that our ladies are taking a lot of pictures and that means, we have a lot of work to do.”
Dr Yankson also revealed that sextortion ranked third accounting for 15 per cent of all the cases.
“The threat to our cyber security in this country is through social engineering, and that is what we should be working on,” he added.
He disclosed that in 2018, Ghana lost 105 million dollars to cyber crime where fraud consisted 21 million dollars and sextortion 49,000 dollars.
Meaning that, a total of about 22 million dollars were taken away from victims through social engineering.
Mr Marcus Adomey, President, ISOC Ghana said there was a common misconception that cyber criminal’s use only highly advanced tools and techniques to hack into people’s computers or accounts.
“This is simply not true. Cyber criminals have learnt that the easiest way to steal information, hack accounts or infect a system is by simply tricking users into making a mistake,” he added.
Mr Adomey said the 2015 report of a study by Vormetric showed that human error was the cause of 90 per cent of cyber breaches.
He said studies also showed about 70 per cent of information theft was tried out consciously or unconsciously from within the organization.
“Indeed, the weakest link, in most cases, is unfortunately the users themselves,” he said.